3 Fun Scent Games Your Dog Will Love | Dogalize
1) Find the Food
This is a simple way to engage your dog’s scenting prowess. It requires you to do nothing but place treats randomly around the home in the hopes that she will locate them by scent. Once she finds the first one (often by accident), she will quickly key into the possibility of finding others with her nose. Start by placing one or two treats down in full view, while she is out of the room. Then call her in. She will eat them happily and look for more. Repeat this process, but begin placing the treats in less obvious places; in a corner, just beneath a sofa or coffee table, or even partially beneath a doggie cushion. Place them while she is outside, or in another part of the home. Then simply let her find them on her own. You will soon see her scenting for them rather than looking for them.
Vary placement and quantity; some days just hide one treat. Once she “gets it,” vary the hidden item. Try hiding a food dispenser toy filled with treats. Hide a feather rubbed with cheese. Hide a frozen cube of meat or broth (on a plate of course!). Then move it out into the yard and do the same, making it easy at first then progressively harder. Try hiding a chicken egg out there! You can even try this in your car or in a friend’s home.
2) Pick the Hand
Here’s a simple way to rev up your dog’s nose. First, get some small tasty treats that will fit into your hand. A bit of turkey meat or cheese will work better than kibble because of the former’s stronger aroma. Next, take one into your palm and make a loose, palm-down fist. Then, with your dog sitting in front of you, offer her that fist, and let her sniff. While doing so, say “Find it!” Once she has sniffed it, open your hand and offer the treat, saying, “Good find it!” Repeat this a few times. Then, add your other empty fist. Don’t let her see which hand you place the treat into. Next, move your closed hands back and forth, then offer up both to her, saying “Find it!” When she sniffs at the treat hand, say, “Good find it!” and open your hand to give her the treat. Repeat this, alternating the hand in which you place the treat. As you continue, wait until you can see her nose really “alert” on the treat hand before opening up. The idea is to teach her that the location of treat varies and can be found only by scenting it out. Once she gets it, add a friend’s two fists into the mix, making it doubly hard for her.
3) New Animal Scent
Dogs are born trackers of prey, other predators, and competitors. Take advantage of this by placing the scent of a new animal into your dog’s yard and see if she picks up on it. Try this outdoors only as dogs will often urinate over another animal’s scent as a way of reclaiming territory.
To begin, give an old towel or rag to a friend and have him or her rub it all over his or her dog or cat. If possible, have him or her get a drop of urine on the cloth as it contains strong scents. If not, rubbing it will do. Then, without your dog present, place the cloth out of sight somewhere in the yard, beneath a bush or behind a tree. Then let your dog out and see what happens! You can try this randomly with the scent of different animals to keep your dog guessing. After trying dog and cat scents, try hamster, parrot, ferret—whatever you can locate.
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