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Dogability: Dog experts in plea for practice areas as they train to be scent detection handlers



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There's nothing more frustrating when walking your dog than having to stop at every tree, lamppost or flower so they can sniff the latest scent.

But what many owners don't realise is that 15 minutes of scent detection will be as tiring as a frolic around the park with their hound's four-legged pals.

Dog trainer and expert dog behaviourist Adrienne Critchlow knows well the value of our dogs' noses – and soon she hopes to have a qualification to enable her to teach owners the art of scent detection.

Dogability, Thorley Wash, Bishop's Stortford. Adrienne Critchlow and Kip with Nicola Collinson and Mayer (Mayer is the German Shepherd). Adrienne and Nicola are training to be Scent Detection Trainers. .Pic Vikki Lince. (42786035)
Dogability, Thorley Wash, Bishop's Stortford. Adrienne Critchlow and Kip with Nicola Collinson and Mayer (Mayer is the German Shepherd). Adrienne and Nicola are training to be Scent Detection Trainers. .Pic Vikki Lince. (42786035)

Adrienne, who runs Dogability training school in Thorley Street and has been seen on TV's Teach My Pet To Do That, has been joined by one of her trainers, Nicola Collinson, on a City and Guilds course in scent detection, teaching and handling.

The course has been set up by former police dog handler Dr Robert Hewings, who is also a Parachute Regiment veteran. Dr Hewings has also been involved in Bravehound, which trains companion dogs to support the veteran community, with particular skills at gently waking ex-military personnel who have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from night terrors.

Adrienne and Nicola need areas to practise with their dogs and complete the final stage of the course, which involves a six-day assessment.

Dogability, Thorley Wash, Bishop's Stortford. Adrienne Critchlow and Kip with Nicola Collinson and Mayer (Mayer is the German Shepherd). Adrienne and Nicola are training to be Scent Detection Trainers. .Pic Vikki Lince. (42786029)
Dogability, Thorley Wash, Bishop's Stortford. Adrienne Critchlow and Kip with Nicola Collinson and Mayer (Mayer is the German Shepherd). Adrienne and Nicola are training to be Scent Detection Trainers. .Pic Vikki Lince. (42786029)

The pair have been given use of Ashfield Carriage and Polo Club's grounds in Great Canfield, but they need more venues. "We need a variety of environments," said Adrienne. "We need barns or industrial units, either indoors or outdoors."

Adrienne added that if successful on the course they will be among the first and best in the country for training scent detection. "We can then go out and be ambassadors for the UK College of Scent Detection," she said.

Whilst on the course, Adrienne and Nicola met PC Dave Wardell and hero dog Finn, who was stabbed while chasing and apprehending a suspect in Stevenage. She says they are in touch with PC Wardell in order to set up tracking workshops.

In common with other trainers, Adrienne is passionate about the benefits of allowing your dog to indulge in sniffing while on their walk.

Dogability, Thorley Wash, Bishop's Stortford. Adrienne Critchlow and Kip with Nicola Collinson and Mayer (Mayer is the German Shepherd). Adrienne and Nicola are training to be Scent Detection Trainers. .Pic Vikki Lince. (42786031)
Dogability, Thorley Wash, Bishop's Stortford. Adrienne Critchlow and Kip with Nicola Collinson and Mayer (Mayer is the German Shepherd). Adrienne and Nicola are training to be Scent Detection Trainers. .Pic Vikki Lince. (42786031)

"It allows them to be the dog they are, plus it's mentally enriching, fulfilling and calming," said Adrienne, who added it was a useful tool in dealing with reactive dogs – those that struggle to behave around other dogs and people.

She said the training would give them the same skills as dogs who detect explosives or drugs. It means handlers can teach their dogs to avoid smells they don't want them to be attracted by, such as fox poo, and get the full benefit from a walk.

Dogs are equipped with millions of scent detectors in their noses and have also been used to alert people to diabetic attacks or epileptic seizures.

"They can split the air – 88% for breathing and the other 12% used for scent detection," said Adrienne, who also revealed dogs were currently being trained in detecting Covid-19.

"They are considered to be more reliable than the scientific tests," she said.

If you have an area which could be of use for Adrienne and Nicola, please contact them on dogabilitytraining@gmail.com.



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