Up until this point, we have attempted to create separate scent cones when placing multiple hides for our dogs. However, in real life, odor from several hides can mix together. It is really amazing to think that your dog can stick their nose into that mess of odor and unravel it to find one hide, then another. At first this task is quite difficult, however, as they practice, the task becomes more easy. It is important to set up this puzzle so that your dog has success. What we want to avoid is odor soup (a big glob of mixed up odor). To make the puzzle solvable, make sure to start with only two hides, and make sure that they both are accessible. Depending on wind conditions, the hides can be as close as 4 feet together. Try to figure out what the wind is doing, you can set the hides so that one is in front of the other, or so that they are side by side. You can set them so that one is higher than the other and it falls on the lower hide, shadowing it. There are many variations here. Sometimes when a dog sources one hide, they will assume that the search area is finished and then leave. The following activity will help them learn to keep searching if they detect two scent cones. I set up two accessible hides. One on each chair. Then each time I rerun the search, I just move the chairs. If you keep resticking the hides on the chairs, you will end up with a mess of residual odor. It does help to air out the area a bit between each search.
You can see that Iona gets faster and faster as she runs the searches. After you set up a converging odor search for your dog watch for the following: Sometimes dogs will show some conflicting behavior as the get into odor and try to decide which hide to source first. If you see this in a blind hide, it is a pretty good sign that there is more than one hide in your search area.