Nose Work Training: The Fun Way to Keep Your Dog’s Focus
Have you ever experienced that lackadaisical, tiresome lull of summer vacation? It might be nice to be stress-free at first, but you eventually begin to crave mental stimulation and physical activity when you start to feel fuzzy around the edges. Being engaged mentally and physically naturally keeps us focused and sharp.
The same goes for your dog and her own natural skills. One of the most neglected natural talents of our beloved pups is their marvelous sense of smell. While some breeds are more inclined than others, all dogs have noses of great caliber just waiting to be used. If those skills go unused, dogs can become anxious and start trying to find “inventive” (or “annoying”) outlets for their strongest sense. Activating your dog’s sensory skills in productive and fun ways can keep him mentally and physically focused and sharp.
It’s easy to begin teaching your dog and her nose how to really work. A first easy exercise is as simple as holding a treat in a clenched fist and a box or tin of treats in your free hand. Allow your dog to sniff and lick at the treat hand. When her interest shifts to the tin, give verbal praise as quick as “yes” and bring the treat over to the box hand, allowing her to have the snack. It’s important to swap hands from time to time as you practice this and to be sure to reward your dog’s interest in the tin box. This teaches her not to rely on memory or habit, but to put her powerful nose to use for sniffing out the goods on command.
Once your dog becomes more familiar with his own abilities, you can try playing trailing games. Leave only the scent of their juiciest, best-smelling (at least, to him) snacks around the yard or house. Your dog will begin to see you more as his insightful leader, giving him some fun and purpose for the day, enhancing his own ability to express his natural skills. When your dog is free to explore and behave to his fullest, you can feel proud and happy knowing he is living up to his utmost potential.
Looking for more opportunities for fun and productive training? Read about our full range of group classes—including our Nose Work Class—by clicking here. We offer opportunities for you to bond with your dog by completing behavior courses, puppy courses, “Reaction Jackson” classes, and agility training. Contact us and speak to one of our trainers about which classes would be a good fit for you and your canine companion.