The Most Important Concept In Nose Work You’ve Never Heard Of: Stimulus Control
Nobody likes hearing the dreaded “NO” from a judge during a nose work search. Disappointed at losing a title, or points, sometimes we accuse our dogs of “lying” when they indicate in the wrong place. In this Session, we will explore how to prevent false alerts proactively, based on the science of behavior, not blame.
Stimulus control occurs when an organism behaves in one way in the presence of a given stimulus and another way in its absence. If we think of birch, anise, clove, and cypress as discriminative stimuli or odor cues, then knowing how to get reliable stimulus control on those cues is key in avoiding false alerts. A false alert happens when a dog cues off the wrong thing in the environment—handler movement, dog slobber on a box, or pooling odor. Clarifying and isolating the odor cue from all other environmental cues early on in a dog’s training is the best way to set that dog up for consistent success throughout his or her career.
Unlock the science behind “trust your dog.” Stimulus control is the most important concept in nose work you’ve never heard of!