About Talking Dogs Scentwork®
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.
The origins of Talking Dogs Scentwork® (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. I can’t believe it was over ten years ago when I started introducing scentwork into 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. My system is, and always has been, dog centred, with the emphasis on supportive scentwork working in partnership with our dogs.
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 proud and happy to say that TDS has reached over 24 countries and counting.
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.
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 and in-person workshops. So let’s get started, let’s get sniffing!
Established in 2011
This is me, Pam Mackinnon, 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.
My girls love scentwork and when you join our Detector Dog School, or get our DVDs or manual, you might just spot them.
After over 20 years of living down South (aka England), in 2021 I returned to my homeland of Scotland. TDS HQ now runs from the beautiful Ayrshire countryside.
To bring the joy of supportive 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.
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. To work in true partnership at all times.