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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our male lab is 2 1/2 years old and is very easy going. However, we are having an issue that is not going away. He lives to sniff and follow any scents that are around. When he catches one he likes he will run/follow it to the exclusion to everything else. He is %100 focused on the smell and nothing but the smell. Are there any resources or trainings that would incorporate his nose but teach him to be aware of his surroundings and commands?
 

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As my old working trials trainer would say, you haven't got a recall. You want the attention of your dog at all times when you ask for it, and what starts as a small problem with a puppy can escalate as they get older. So you recall your puppy when they're sniffing at some grass and they don't come back because the smell is really interesting, but after a few attempts then they've finished sniffing and come back anyway. And as time goes by, the recall is more of an option rather than a command, and they always find you in the end and possibly get a treat still as well.

So it's back to basics I'm afraid, recall frequently and make sure you are close enough that he will respond, lots of praise and tasty treats (train when he's hungry) and really instill that recall. You may need to resort to a trailing long line for now, but the golden rule of recall is only recall when you are sure they will respond. If you think the grass is too interesting, or a tree or lamp post, then go up to him and get into the 'zone' where he will respond. You can only build up a successful recall from further and further away if you can recall him at close distances, and then slowly increase that distance. After all, if he won't listen when he's two or three feet away, you've got no hope at 50 feet and so on.

As for his nose, if you have a good recall then he can sniff what he wants, as long as you can get him back, so really the only issue you have is the lack of recall. You could try tracking classes which will give his scenting skills a purpose, but you will still need to really work on basic recall.
 

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As above. The problem is, the scent is more interesting than you are. The secret is to make the area around you the most interesting place to be. The place where all his fun happens. Remember, Labradors are gundogs, they have been bred for generations to follow a scent
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As my old working trials trainer would say, you haven't got a recall. You want the attention of your dog at all times when you ask for it, and what starts as a small problem with a puppy can escalate as they get older. So you recall your puppy when they're sniffing at some grass and they don't come back because the smell is really interesting, but after a few attempts then they've finished sniffing and come back anyway. And as time goes by, the recall is more of an option rather than a command, and they always find you in the end and possibly get a treat still as well.

So it's back to basics I'm afraid, recall frequently and make sure you are close enough that he will respond, lots of praise and tasty treats (train when he's hungry) and really instill that recall. You may need to resort to a trailing long line for now, but the golden rule of recall is only recall when you are sure they will respond. If you think the grass is too interesting, or a tree or lamp post, then go up to him and get into the 'zone' where he will respond. You can only build up a successful recall from further and further away if you can recall him at close distances, and then slowly increase that distance. After all, if he won't listen when he's two or three feet away, you've got no hope at 50 feet and so on.

As for his nose, if you have a good recall then he can sniff what he wants, as long as you can get him back, so really the only issue you have is the lack of recall. You could try tracking classes which will give his scenting skills a purpose, but you will still need to really work on basic recall.
Thank you and you are right he will do anything for food. I was assuming that since he comes back for the “emergency”call back word and comes when called we were ok. But what you said makes since we don’t have basic recall when he is interested in the smells. When we work the recall kinks out maybe we will try the tracking classes. This is my first Lab and they are very different from my Belgian sheepdogs.
 
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