Ep. 35: Let Them Sniff!

What is scent enrichment? And why is it important? 

  • Providing opportunities for the dog to engage his super power, his nose, in a variety of ways.
  • Olfaction is the dog’s primary scent. Sometimes we forget that since that is not the case for us humans. 
  • Mental enrichment can be more tiring!
  • Great for dogs who are worried about the world.
  • Excellent for crappy weather.

What are some different types of scent enrichment:

  • Essential oils, perfumes, and spices on a towel. Use very little oil! 
  • Animal scents on a towel, tug toy, flirt pole, and/or buried item.
  • Scents inside PVC pipes (with drilled holes).
  • Tossing treats in the yard and letting your dog hunt for them.
  • Sniffing on walks.

What is Nose Work? 

How do you teach your dog to play Nose Work?

Variables to consider when increasing difficulty:

  • Location of the search
  • Search size
  • Inside the boxes vs. outside the boxes
  • Hide placement
  • Wind speed/direction
  • Temperature

Common mistakes we make:

  • Making it too hard too quickly.
  • Engaging with dog, open and close treat bags, talking to them.
  • Rewarding the dog for engaging w/ you.
  • Staring at the dog.
  • When they make a mistake, help them out and take a step near the odor.
  • Making it too scary and moving too quickly for fearful dogs.

Other Resources:

Comments 4

  1. This is great! I love the Lick mat, and will order a snuffle mat. Always looking for brain toys and this is perfect to use in my house when one gets some training, the other one is left at home. Love it, thanks to you both for this.

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  2. Thank you, I enjoyed the podcast. I am very interested in starting scent enrichment and doing activities (games). I have two dogs and am wondering if their are beginner activities that can be done simultaneously with both dogs?

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      Unfortunately, I’ve found it SUPER difficult to train both dogs at once. I put one in a crate with a chew toy while I train the other, then I trade.

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