The Avidog Early Scent Introduction Program
The Avidog Early Scent Introduction program is a way of stimulating the neurological system. But this program focuses specifically on stimulating the puppies sense of smell.
The ESI program helps develop interest in scenting, the ability to detect scents, and the ability to follow scents. This program is proving valuable in raising puppies with an aptitude for activities that require use of their nose – hunting, tracking, nosework (scent detection sports), obedience trials, scent hurdle racing, search and rescue dogs, dogs with a scent detection career (like bomb sniffing dogs, drug sniffing dogs, bedbug detection dogs etc).
But I think even for a dog that is to be “just a pet”, a dog that knows how to use its nose effectively is always a great thing! If you are playing fetch in tall grass, a dog that knows how to effectively hunt to sniff out that ball is sure helpful! Or maybe you want to teach your dog to bring you your slippers (not your husbands etc, but yours!), and you will need a dog that understands how to discriminate odours! Or maybe you just want to plays games, sending him to search out treats you have hidden around the house or yard? (That "hidden treats" game is a great way to tire him out physically and mentally!)
Certainly a dog that has not done ESI can still learn all this, it just tends to come a lot easier to a dog that has gone through ESI as a pup.
So, what is ESI exactly? This is really a super quick and easy program – each day from days 3 to 16, you present the puppies once at a time with some time of novel scent to sniff. These scents can and should vary from natural outdoor scents (like leaves, grass, dirt, flowers) to pungent herbs and spices (cinnamon, sage, ginger etc) to fruits and veggies (lemon, banana, green pepper…), and also scents associated with sports or activities they may be involved in as they mature, so we have them smell ducks and pheasants, tennis balls, leather gloves, nosework essential oils like birch oil or anise oil.
It is always interesting to observe each puppies reaction to a novel scent. Some they will love, some they will hate, and some they will not care about at all and completely ignore!
I keep written records of what scents I introduced on what days, and the puppies reactions to these scents - this can be valuable information when evaluating pups for hunting or scent-related sports or careers!