Content to Scent Program

Content To Scent goes beyond the nose. We look at the bigger picture for dogs who struggle with sensitivity, environmental challenges, and related issues that impact training and performance in scent work. This course is appropriate for dogs who are already on odor (paired or not) and who may be struggling to engage in training or trial environments.

Please note that this course is NOT for dogs with severe generalized anxiety or aggression issues, or similar issues at levels that require veterinary behaviorist treatment.

“When you acknowledge the dogs’ needs, your training goals become clear.” While all dogs may not be suited for scent sport competition, all dogs CAN benefit from scent sport training. Recognizing and prioritizing your dogs’ unique needs will reap rewards in one form or another-competition is not a requirement to realize the joy and accomplishment that comes with training and building your relationship! Confidence and comfort are key, and Content To Scent shows you how to provide this for your dog in training.

Classes forming on a rotating basis, email for info. This is how it works: Small class size for low stress environment, limit 3 dogs per class. We begin with written prerequisite exercise instructions provided in pdf format via email and on the student access page here. You can begin training at home, where it is easiest for your dog. This is followed by 4 in person sessions (schedule TBD). $150.00 includes 4 in-person coaching sessions with an accompanying printable Content To Scent pdf handbook that covers all of the course topics and lessons. There is also a password access student page on this site for supplementary information, video links, etc. For those who use Facebook, there is an optional and private Content To Scent student group there.

Private lessons for Content To Scent are available by appointment. I am located in Virginia, Rockingham/Harrisonburg area. $50.00 per 1 hour session. Private lessons include access to the accompanying Content To Scent pdf handbook, the private CTS password access page on this site, and the private CTS Facebook group.

To reserve a spot or make appointment for private lessons, contact Char:

This comprehensive program relies on the practical application of concepts and strategies with positive conditioned response. I have strategically combined complementary games and exercises to greatly increase the chances of your dog learning to be content to scent! The following topics are covered in the course:

  • Foundations of Focus and Engagement
  • Maximizing reinforcements and motivation
  • Marker cues for clarity and arousal modulation
  • Prioritizing positive emotional response-a dog who stays in the game!
  • The how and why of start buttons & empowerment by choice
  • Creating a comfort zone through consistency, choice and structure
  • Differentiating acclimation from work.
  • How to assess your dog’s optimal work zone.
  • Work flow for confidence- how to effectively transition from acclimation to working session.
  • Focus and Pattern Games- specific scent training adaptations for focus, confidence and motivation!
  • Adapting the 4 D’s to scent training-difficulty, distance, distraction, duration.
  • Selecting environments for success-balancing peripheral challenges with the appropriate skill level and progression.
  • Coping skills and management for things like SEC, (sudden environmental change).
  • How to set up for success, planning customized training sessions for YOUR dog.

Why Content To Scent ?

It is commonly recognized that compared to other dog sports, scent sport activities offer more natural benefits and greater chance for success to dogs who are sensitive and/or environmentally challenged.

But it is also true that even in scent work, many dogs still struggle and remain impeded in training and performance. This is often due to lack of training beyond the sport specific skills themselves. As a result, execution suffers-even though “all dogs know how to scent”. My purpose with this program is to provide the supportive training necessary to address these peripheral challenges. I developed the Content To Scent program over time from my experience training, teaching and competing in a variety of sports and learning from current and cutting edge sources, (see foot note for references). I have successfully applied these concepts in various forms for years with my own dogs and and to those of my students.

Scent training is a mainstay and major contributor to my own dogs’ overall enrichment. In addition to building our relationship, it provides a safe and fun outlet for their hunt drive with appropriate mental and physical challenges. As a trainer, I find the unique challenges of scent work to be highly rewarding, and just plain FUN! I encourage people to try it- whether or not your goals include competition, you will be rewarded mightily either way! Content To Scent can help you do it.

THANK YOU! Fenzi Dog Sport Academy and Clicker Expo for major inspiration, learning and evolution of dog sports training. Special thanks to Dr. Deb Jones PhD, Denise Fenzi, Leslie McDevitt, Melissa Chandler, Julie Daniels, Shade Whitesel, Michele Pouliot, Ken Ramirez, Kamal Fernandez, Sharon Carroll, Stacy Barnett, Bob Bailey. Also thanks to all of the trainers worldwide who continue to evolve and share the message of training our dogs through relationship built with benevolence, trust and empowerment through choice.


This page has the following sub pages.