When I attend a seminar that I am not teaching, I quite often ask the individual hiding the explosive training aid, “why are you wearing gloves?” I usually get one of two answers. The first answer I get is, “To keep me from getting my odor on the training aid and contaminating it.” The second answer I will get is, ” To keep the explosive odor off of my hands.” If I get the first answer, my faith in that instructor drops about 85%. If I get the second answer, I usually feel pretty good about that instructor and will travel again to work with them.
Why, you might ask? It’s simple. We humans shed dead skin cells from our bodies at an amazing rate. Millions a minute. And what makes this glove wearing practice an even a bigger sham is the fact that we shed the majority from our heads, not just our hands. With this in mind we should rationalize the fact that we are getting our odor on the training aid regardless of whether or not we are wearing gloves. Putting on gloves before we handle our training aids does not keep our odor off the training aids. If we are shedding odor from our entire body like this then our odor is everywhere, to include the training aid we held.
In contrast, if we are wearing the gloves to keep the explosive odor off of our hands this actually makes sense. If we get contamination from explosive training aids on our hands and then touch items like door knobs, cabinet handles and the like, we leave behind explosive odor in very small trace amounts. Once we start to conduct the training our dogs will indicate on those contaminated surfaces. Our reaction most likely will be to tell the dog “no” and move them along. Doing this tells the dog to simply ignore those small trace amounts of odor because they won’t get paid or rewarded for them and actually gives negative reinforcement by means of the “no” that was given.
When we have finished placing our explosive training aids, how we remove the gloves is as important as why we used them. Simply pulling them off and wadding them into a ball and throwing them away makes no sense. Whatever contamination that was on the exterior of the gloves is now on our hands. We must take care in removing the gloves in such a way as to keep the outside surface of the gloves from touching our hands. Taking the top of one hands glove up by the wrist and pulling the glove off so that when removed it is inside out and then placing it in the palm of the still gloved had accomplishes half of the removal process. Then by using the ungloved hand to take the still worn glove up by the wrist and again pulling it off so that the other glove held in the palm ends up inside the now removed second glove is the best practice. Those used gloves are now disposed of outside the training area.
Gloves being used for the right reasons make perfect sense. Choosing the right gloves is as important as using them properly and for the right reasons. The use of surgical or latex gloves should be avoided at all cost. These gloves are coated with a white powder which keeps them from sticking together and dry rotting. Even the gloves that state they are powder less still have this on them although in a very small amount you may not even see. The problem with these gloves is that you leave this powder product on your training aids and eventually imprint your dog to find latex gloves. The best glove to use for handling your training aids is a food service glove. These gloves have NO powder at all on them. You can buy these in bulk rather cheaply at GFS or other restaurant supply stores.