In almost all of our classes, trainers teach a game called “Find It”. The signal is “Find it” and the behavior is your dog’s nose sniffing the ground. This is an incredible mental exercise for your dog using his/her natural inclination to sniff. And pretty darn fun and rewarding. In class we start teaching the behavior by dropping a piece of food directly in front of the dog and simultaneously saying “find it”. Unfortunately, with limited class time we don’t get much farther than say, dropping two pieces at once or hiding a piece of food behind a foot.
1) Play hide and seek in the house. Save the plastic tops of PB jars, egg cartons and boxes. Tether your pup to something or put her into a down stay. Place the jars, cartons and boxes around your house and put a couple of smelly treats underneath or inside. Release your dog and ask her to Find it. Then just get a drink, sit back, relax and watch your pup sniff, sniff and sniff all over your house.
2) Take the game outside. In a grassy area, toss very smelly treats into the grass and ask your dog to “find it”. Don’t worry if they see where you toss them, this game is a lot harder outside with so many smells rocking your dog’s world.
3) Take a class on sniffing. AnimalSense offers a Nosework class every session. The farthest thing from an obedience class, our nosework class is very low impact so is perfect for all types of dogs at all skill levels. The trainer will place “hides” in various locations and your dog must use his sniffer he find the tasty morsel wherever it is hidden. Think grass, inside metal containers, on car bumpers etc…