Have fun with dog nose work, engage your kids and think outside the box. All at the same time.
Think about it.
Of all the senses that your dog comes with, his sense of smell is the way he “connects” with the world. It only makes sense that this could provide you, your kids and your dog an opportunity to do something everyone would enjoy and let your dog amaze you at how adept he can become at finding things.
All you need to do is to educate and train your dog’s nose. The amazing thing is – it won’t take long at all.
How to Train Your Dog’s Nose
Here’s an example of how I helped a client train her dog’s nose:
First: I walked a path on her floor scooting my feet along the floor for about 6-8’ away from her. I turned a corner and placed a high value food treat on the floor (just out of sight from the starting point.)
Second: I retraced my steps back to the starting point placing very tiny treat particles in my pathway. This helped teach her dog to keep his nose to the ground.
Third: She then brought her dog in the room and pointed to the first treat crumb as she said, “Find it!” He quickly followed the trail to the high value food treat and was praised, “Good find it – with squeals of delight!”
Fourth: This was repeated with fewer and fewer crumbs in the pathway to finally none at all.
Fifth: As her dog picked up the game, the path or “track” became more complex with more turns in the path.
Sixth: Once the dog “got the game,” we introduced the kids who laid their track to their hiding place. Boom! – You now have “hide and seek” with your dog!
Seventh: Hide and seek is now a favorite indoor game that they will eventually expand to outdoors.
Try this inside tracking game with your dog and get him good at his game. Then take him outside. Now the fun really begins.
Up the Ante for Your Dog’s Nose Work Outside!
You can continue expanding your dog’s nose work outside by laying your track and then placing a leather garden glove (laden with your scent) for your dog to find at the end of the track. Place a high value food treat on the glove. Don’t forget to double lay your track with food crumbs back to the starting point.
Take your dog to the starting point and say, “Find it!”
Up The Ante Again: You can also teach your dog to finish the track by lying down when he finds the article. Once he “gets the game,” change out the articles to metal objects like car keys (blanks on a key ring from Home Depot). These don’t soak up your scent as well as a leather garden glove. It will complicate it a little and keep the game interesting.
Up The Ante One More Time! Later, increase difficulty by adding turns to your track and hiding the object behind things – like plants or a flower pot. You can also introduce your dog to specific scents for tracking purposes outside. Purchase dove, quail or rabbit scent from Cabelas (on-line hunting catalogue) and lay a scent trail around the perimeter of your back yard.
Mix Up The Nose Work Fun
Put treat crumbs in the scent track to get your dog to keep his nose to the ground and follow that new scent. Gradually eliminate the treat crumbs. Always remember, don’t train for too long. Keep your sessions short – 5 to 10 minutes maximum. Above all, have a great time bonding with your dog while using his natural instincts.
You will have also enriched your dog’s backyard environment with your scent tracking games. Before it was always the same every single day. Now, your dog will go out into his backyard with a renewed interest! Now it all makes sense – right? Which will you do first to rev up your dog’s nose? Will you lay track with your scent or the scents of rabbits or dove?
Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog
Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.