About TDS

To have the opportunity and privilege to dedicate my time to teaching scentwork is a dream come true. Much to my surprise and delight, all my work helping dogs and their people achieve their training and behavioural goals has led me to this point. Learning is a lifelong passion and with each new dog and handler I meet, I learn something new. 

Origins

The origins of TDS came during my time as a Royal Air Force trained drug detector dog handler for HM Customs & Excise. I adored the teamwork between me and my dog. The pure joy of working together for a common purpose was magical. We searched everything from planes to cars, postal depots to houses, oil rigs to ships. We worked at many airports including Heathrow and Glasgow, ferry terminals at Dover and Stranraer plus docks at Liverpool, Hull and Greenock. And even caves and islands off the West Coast of Scotland. Almost ten years ago now, I started introducing scentwork in my dog training classes. Much to my delight, owners and dogs loved it as much as I did. And so in 2011 I founded Talking Dogs Scentwork®, the first national scentwork organisation in Great Britain.

Evolution

Since then I’ve been working hard to keep up with demand. Such is the interest in scentwork, TDS has quickly grown into the go-to dog centred scentwork training provider in Britain. In 2014 I produced my first DVD: Scent 1, Learning to Sniff!. The following year came Scent 2: Handling Skills. And then in 2016 came Scent 3: Super Searches. First published in 2017, the TDS Detector Dog manual proved more popular than I could have ever imagined. It sells well all over the world, but particularly in the UK, Canada and USA.

I have travelled the length and breadth of the UK, from the Isle of Mull to the island of Jersey and everywhere in between to teach Talking Dogs Scentwork®. In order to help even more scentwork teams across the globe, in 2018 I launched my online school ‘Detector Dog’.

I am privileged to be asked to share my skills with major organisations, including Dogs Trust, Puppy School and the prestigious Woof! and Victoria Stilwell Conferences.

Background

I was a founder, and for 9 years was the Director, of Talking Dogs Rally®. I have worked as a professional trainer and behaviour consultant for 30+ years working full time for charities including Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Wood Green Animal Shelters. My goal is to help increase the welfare and understanding of dogs for pet dog owners and professionals alike.

I can’t wait for you to get started, I’ve got so much to share with you. My strong belief is that when you have knowledge you must share it. I hope I’ve made it easy for you to access what I have to share, through my manual, articles, DVDs, online courses & communities, and in-person workshops. So let’s get started, let’s get sniffing!

Pam

Established in 2011

talking dogs scentwork founder Pam Mackinnon with labrador Cherry origins TDS

This is me with my Labrador Cherry Blossom. Born the same year as Talking Dogs Scentwork® was founded, she has been my partner throughout on this scentwork journey. She shares me with Jack Russell Terrier Ella, terrier mix Ettie and our big ginger cat Pan. And we all share our lives with housemates Yogi, English Springer Spaniel x German Wirehaired Pointer, Percy, Labrador, and Tablet, Cocker Spaniel. 

All our dogs love scentwork and when you join our Detector Dog School, or get our DVDs or manual, you might just spot them.

origin dog Cherry with her scentwork family

Mission

To bring the joy of scentwork front and centre. To help people discover why sniffing is so important for dogs. And to help both species work together with greater understanding, effective communication and shared pleasure. 

Vision

For every dog to have the opportunity for greater engagement with olfaction. And for people to share in activities that are so important for our dogs’ wellbeing and happiness, and thus enhance  our understanding of them. 

Values

  • Dog-centred activities where their welfare always comes first
  • Thoughtful, adaptable, inclusive , informed, experienced
  • Reward based, science backed methods and techniques
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