OB580: Articles from the Ground Up

Instructor: Laura Waudby

Course Details

This class will lay out a plan for teaching scent articles.  Step-by-step, it will guide those who have not yet begun training and for those stuck on how to progress.  

We will dicuss using a food based method to kick start the dogs' learning that it is a scent based activity and how to quickly fade the food as a prompt.  Common problems in teaching articles will be discussed, from freezing over the pile to grabbing the first one they come across.  If your dog has already started scent articles using a different method, we can discuss a plan for getting you back on track with the method you're currently using, or try and pick a method that will work best for your dog. (Note the lectures will discuss a food based method of teaching articles, if you are interested in a free shaping approach I recommend taking Obedience Skillbuilding 1 instead.)

While a retrieve will eventually be needed for the full scent article exercise, it is not neccessary to begin this class.  Those dogs without a retrieve and dogs who tend toward grabbing behaviors will be taught to indicate their choice with a sustained nose touch to a flat metal/wood/leather item.

The full progression to scent article training will be discussed in the lectures, however students who are starting at step 1 should not expect to completely master all the exercises in the 6 weeks.

Here is recent team Sue and Brinkley showing their progression from this class!


There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.

Registration starts at 11:30 AM PDT.

Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.


1. Overview of Common Methods

2. Basics of a Food Based Method

3. How to reward, how to handle mistakes

4. Problem Solving- Franticness and Grabbing

5. Problem Solving- Looking for Help

6. Games to build confidence and add challenges

7. Formality

Prerequisites and Equipment

Dog of all levels are invited to train!  Even puppies can learn how to find our scent!  A retrieve is not a requirement and we will talk about training a duration nose touch as an indication.

Equipment needed: A minimum of 6 identical items made of either metal, leather, or wood.  They do not need to be traditional scent articles and many students will start on canning rings.  For dogs without a retrieve or for dogs who tend toward "grabbing" behaviors, 6 identical flat items will be substituted such as canning lids or metal eletrical plates.  Smearable food will be used in the beginning such as peanut butter or cheeze whiz.

Course Testimonials

A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ... 

This was an outstanding class to learn articles if you had never started or fix a problem if you'd already started. Laura is a talented instructor with a depth of knowledge to guide the dog and handler to success. The course was tailored so that we have good guidance on how to continue progressing after the session is over. I wouldn't hesitate to take another class from Laura. Deb A.          

Laura provides a step-by-step method for scent discrimination that is guaranteed to be successful, even for the most sensitive dog. She is quick to understand the nuances of each team and provide individualized instruction. It's all about keeping it fun and improving the dog's confidence. Wonderful course - I was thrilled with the progress we made in six weeks. ~ Jill Stoller            

FDSA is very lucky to have Laura. this is the second class i've taken with her - she is a gifted instructor and I look forward to future classes with her!      

This was a great class. Laura had great knowledge and read the dogs very well. Her suggestions were spot on to keep the dog and handler on the right track to success.