If you want to give your dog some top-class mental exercise, scent work is an excellent choice. But how do you do it? Read on to find out.
Scent work is a great activity for every breed of dog, regardless of physical ability or age. It’s easy for owners too, and it’s an exercise you carry out every day.
But what exactly is scent work?
Scent work is where you train your puppy or dog to find an item by picking up on its scent. That could mean sniffing out a toy under the sofa or uncovering a hidden item in a field.
Scent work is something dogs of all ages can enjoy. Whether you’ve got a young, lively pup, or a slower old-timer, you can be sure they’ll get loads of stimulation from sniffing out treasures.
Why do dogs love scent work so much?
Your dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times as sensitive as your own. It’s their primary sense, and they use their sense of smell even before their eyes open. It’s no wonder they rely so much on their noses to explore the world!
All of this means that your dog gets heaps of satisfaction from using their nose to find things. It’s mentally taxing for your pooch, it improves the bond between you both, and it’s great fun.
How to turn scent work into playtime
Like the sounds of getting into scent work? Here are our four top tips:
1 Ideally, your dog should know some of the basic commands such as sit and stay. This will help make the games much more fun for you both.
2 Scent work isn’t a strict form of training—it’s more like a game. That means you can do it anytime with a dog of any age!
3 It’s good to start with something simple, like hide and seek, using one of your dog’s favourite toys. Then you can move onto other items (such as your house keys) and even outdoor play.
4 If you enjoy scent work, why not go along to a class run by an organisation. You could learn search techniques, challenge yourselves to search in different scenarios, and even enter competitions.
Ready to try something else? Check out these other guides
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If your dog is comfortable with the basic commands, you might want to take things up a notch. This is where trick training comes in. You’ll have hours of fun teaching your pooch how to roll over, play dead, or even tidy up after themselves!
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