Action Dog Association
This hand book of training instruction should help all who would like a successful Action Dog
Step one to training your dog as a Action Dog
Training can start at any time, a dog must be 6 months or older to compete.
Good find Cooper said to Magnum a 2 year old Chocolate Labrador as he sits locating the car keys. What
is important to know about Magnum finding the keys is it is not by chance. It’s because of the scent
imprint training. A training process of introducing the dog to react when the scent is found.
How difficult is it to teach a dog to find a few select items?
By using the training outlined in this guide training your Action Dog is made simple. Most all breeds of
hunting dogs, and many other breeds can be taught to become efficient Action Dogs. Dogs enjoy
finding things whether it be for you, or just food for itself. As a full time Professional Dog Trainer of over
30 years with Big D’s Dog Training in Minnesota we have found in the dog world there are less people
hunting, but they need to find things for their dogs to do. Action Dog affords them the opportunity to
use their dog’s natural skills. The steps to introduce your dog to Action Dog items for competition is the
same as for household use.
Put the item on the seat of a chair, and walk your dog by the item. When your dog turns its head to
smell command to sit. When the Action Dog Sits at the item location give lots of praise and a treat is
your dog’s reward for a found item. It is also important how you give your treats - (Try and put treats in
the palm of your hand to ease your treat timing). You will want to do scent imprinting process 20 to 30
times before believing your dog is putting the two actions together. If your dog is weak at searching or
does not show interest start working with a piece of hot dog in a open area on the floor. Command your
dog to find an item and when it walks over to it and the dog smells and eats it give lots of praise. Do this
10 to 15 times you are scent imprinting. If your dog is not eager to find items. Then put the treat on the
floor let your dog find it. After the dog is willing to go get a treat put the treat under a box with a small
hole. The hole should not be big enough for a dog to put its nose in the hole to get the treat out. Turn
the box over and let the dog have the treat. Do this 10 to 15 times. Next use a box without a hole. Now
take the box put in the same spot on the floor, put your competition scent under the box. When your
dog goes over, smells the box, command the dog to sit and give it the treat. This is scent imprinting!
The first scent to start with is the car key scent. It is important to get away from using the same box
because dogs commonly start sitting when they see or come upon the box.
The important training command it sit. This will be used throughout our Action Dog training and
When training a dog to be a Action Dog the trainer can use praise and treats as the reward for good
performance. Some teach lay down or sit as their response action when the dog makes a find. Some
time this depends on how assertive a dog becomes during the find. Some dogs need a higher level of
Hide items in different places to teach the dog to keep looking until successful.
Take your first scented item, walk dog up to it, when your dog smells and puts its nose towards item,
command to sit and give reward. Repeat this introduction until the dog goes to the sit as soon as it
smells the item. You can use scent tool or training items. Once your dog finds the item in multiple
locations now add new scents and new locations. In the beginning you may place the scent tool, or your
training items, on a chair or couch, make sure to work from different directions letting dog smell it and
command the sit once they do. It is important to vary the visibility of your items (some times put in
plain view other times hide item or scent tools in a box, under clothing, or magazines.) When a Action
Dog make a find remember the praise, petting and the treat as reward during training. In competition
treats can only be given outside the test area.
When you train it is also important to reduce your human scent on your items. Use vinyl, plastic, or
latex gloves to place your items. This will help your dog look for the item and not just for you, or things
you have touched.
To increase item odor by applying test scent to a small area on your test item or use your scent tool.
This added scent helps your Action Dog pin point only the items you want them to look for. This added
scent helps you with the scent imprinting process. Action Dog has developed 5 unique scent for test
and owner personal use for the personal items. Use your gloves when placing your items for training.
Wear gloves of some type when you are planting your items. This will help to scent imprint your dog
with out them always looking for you. This will also prepare you for Action Dog competitions.
At this stage of the training it is recommended to setup several chairs and a table or two. You can do
this in your own living room. You can train anywhere! Place items out and or Search tools. Work the
whole area causing your dog to have to walk area’s which do not have any scent on them while having
to find the scented items.
Map out where you place your training items. This will help you avoid walking past a item during your
training. It also will add you to understand your placement during your Action Dog trial. Some times
when a person is working their dog they lose track of their items. If a item is not remembered the
handler can walk by the item accidentally which can have the effect of teaching the dog a scent is not
important to find. The more finding success your dog has the more effective the training. Useful
application of applying ADA scent to your home Items (keys, Remote, Phone, Glasses, and Wallet will
allow your dog to help you find them the next time you misplace them. The true fun part about your
Action Dog training is that you can set up training scenarios almost anywhere and conduct them at any
The time you spend teaching your dog is a new way just to have fun. While keeping them ready to find
your lost item. In time your will dog will learn the difference between each item. One helpful tip to
achieve this during your training is by making your search word the item you are looking for. Example
when you are imprinting the Keys scent say keys as you are bring the dog up to the item say "find
keys". When the dog sits at the keys you are building the association between Keys, Key scent, Sit, and