The Kingdom of Scent by Anne Lill Kvam

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The Kingdom of Scent by Anne Lill Kvam

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Category: Pets
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: How to get started on tracking, scent discrimination or even search and rescue. It's all done in clear easy stages and if this idea appeals to you then this is the book. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: November 2008
Publisher: Sheila Harper Ltd
ISBN: 978-0954803223

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A dog's sense of smell is very acute. We have a gravel garden and our younger dog has a habit of bringing in a small stone – and I do mean one particular small stone from the hundreds of thousands out there. She brings it into the house and presents it to me and when she isn't looking I'll throw it back out into the garden. There's a particular mark on it and I'll recognise it when she brings it back in the next day. Sometimes I'll leave it in the house for several days, but once it goes out she'll retrieve it.

Anne Lill Kvam runs a dog training school in Norway and she's so successful at training dogs to use their noses that she's written a book which sets out in easy steps exactly how to train your dog in scent work. Whether you're want to have a little fun with your dog by teaching it to track or use scent discrimination – or at the other end of the scale you're a professional involved in search and rescue – this book is an invaluable resource.

Following a scent is natural to a dog and the book takes advantage of the dog's natural instincts to achieve the desired results. The handler is going to have to have certain qualities though. It's necessary to be patient, systematic and stubborn in your determination to achieve your aim. For the dog t6his is just going to be fun. Equipment is quite limited – treats and toys for the dog, a harness and a couple of leads of different lengths – after that it's practice and repetition.

For each activity there's a 'recipe' – a precise set of instructions as to what you must do. These set off from the very basics, such as throwing some treats for your dog to find and then praising when they are found and gradually work through until you achieve what you're looking to do. Regular breaks are built in to the recipe and you can't miss them – the logo of a dog reclining in a deck chair reading the paper reminds you that this is essential if the dog is not to get bored and disheartened.

Each activity is accompanied by pictures. Occasionally I felt that I could have done with a few more to back up the text but generally the words were self-explanatory.

What impressed me about this book is the way that I finished reading each section with a feeling that 'I could do that'. Anne Lill is a born teacher and she doesn't just understand dogs – she understands people too. Just occasionally the English doesn't feel completely natural, but it's a very minor quibble in an otherwise very good text.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you're looking for help with basic training then we can recommend What Do I Do When... My Dog Pulls? by Turid Rugaas which deals with the most common problem of them all.

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