Help Your Scared Dog Can Gain Confidence with Find It!
Every dog, even your scared dog, has a very keen sense of smell. This can be used as a real confidence builder, especially with a scared dog. Nose games train them to use their nose to find things.
You can play “find it” in the house or out in the back yard. The purpose of the game it to teach your scared dog that he can make good things happen.
As you will see on this video, I’ve used some very simple household things to do a little find-it game with our dog Keeper. Let’s take a look.
How To Structure the Find It Game
First you want to crate your dog so that he can’t see what you’re doing.
Then you go into the other room and you get some vanilla extract out of your cupboard, a cotton ball, some scotch tape and some thread to it so you can drag the cotton ball along the floor.
We set a trail just like this with the cotton ball that Keeper will track. Leila is setting it here. She’s going to turn the corner right here and then she’s going to make another turn, dragging the cotton ball like this.
What you might find that helps your dog initially, is to put some food treats, crumbs, in the trails to help him keep his nose to the ground. Now she’s putting a big food treat reward at the end of the trail to see if Keeper can find it.
She points to it and says, “Find it.” Now our ceiling fans are blowing the scent around, so he is off the trail a little bit, but he knows there’s a trail. Sure enough, there he goes and he finds it.
Your Scared Dog Is Thinking! Wow I Did This!
Another variation of the find-it game, tracking, basically, or nose work, is to find a toy, a favorite toy or article, like this.
This is Keeper’s little fetch bumper. It’s his baby bumper. Leila is going to hide it in the backyard some place. He is in his crate so he can’t peak. No cheating. You’re going to hide it in the backyard. We’re going to go back and get him and ask him to find it. Every time your scared dog “finds it” the message to his brain is: I can make this happen!
She set a track for Keeper to follow.
He’ll be following either her track, or, since he’s done this exercise a few times before, he may just be looking for the bumper, but that’s the whole point.
Once your dog gets the game, he will find it extremely challenging to try to beat the clock and find the toy no matter where you put it.
She stuffed it in a fence post right back there in the corner of the yard, and we will send Keeper after it.
What You Can Use For Your Scared Dog To “Find”
You don’t always have to use a retrieving bumper for your dog to find.
You can use a stuffy like this. This is one of Keeper’s old stuffy toys that we use in the house too. It can be a rubber bone thing like this. It’s whatever is his favorite toy.
It really doesn’t matter.
Stuffies are good to drag across the floor once you crate your dog and teach him to find his favorite stuffy like this. We put Keeper in his crate, hid this in one of the bedrooms, and he tracked our scent where we walked to find this stuffy right here.
Nose Work is Really Easy For Any Dog.
You just have to teach them to follow a track. You can do that by laying a track, even your own personal track as you walk from one end of the room to the other and come back again, dropping food treats in the track, and then send your dog to get his stuffy like that.
It’s real easy to do.
It’s a big confidence builder, especially for scared dogs, just like I said before.
Try this. Work your dog. Above all, have fun doing it. It’s a great way to bond with your dog and do fun things.