Talking Dogs Scentwork® was designed and developed by Pam Mackinnon, an ex Customs and Excise Officer.

Scentwork is about teaching the dog to find a specific scent, not a specific item. The scent is the key. This form of scentwork is different to that used for obedience and working trials, search and rescue and tracking. Each employs its own style and method of training which best fits the task in hand. Talking Dogs Scentwork® incorporates all those styles and is based on the type of searching used by drug detector dog handlers with HM Customs and Excise. This is a free flowing search style which allows the dog to cover complex areas efficiently and effectively. The handler actively works to support the dog and ensure the whole area has been cleared. Unlike some other forms of scentwork, the handler is an integral part of the search not simply an observer.

Talking Dogs Scentwork® has been adapted so it is suitable for all breeds and ages of dogs. By integrating techniques from other disciplines, such as gundog training, and encouraging the use of food as well as toys, scentwork becomes accessible to all.  This activity is an excellent way to reconnect with your dog, especially if your relationship has gone through rocky times. It builds trust and can help speed up bonding with newly rescued dogs. And it helps build concentration in young or impulsive dogs.

The beauty of scentwork is that each dog works to his or her own ability, as handlers, trainers and assistants constantly respond and fine tune the search according to what the individual dog needs. And of course, it’s FUN! Dogs are allowed to be dogs and engage in an activity that owners can often find annoying or worrisome. Instead of battling against their natural desire to search, owners can harness and support the search.

Search techniques can provide great help both with daily training and with some behavioural issues. From improving recalls to learning to cope with change and work through fearful situations, scentwork is an adaptable, effective tool to add to your skill set.

From the first stages of learning to associate a specific scent with reward, the teams can progress through all the workshops learning how scent works, what the dog needs, how to hide articles to achieve specific results, work on issues and have the best time truly working in partnership with each other.

For more information about Pam and Talking Dogs Scentwork®, visit