Monday, November 28, 2016

Sniffing Games for Dogs

From drugs to missing people, dogs' noses are utilized around the world for their ability to sniff out certain scents. While some dogs are prone to tracing through sniffing, such as hounds, you can train any dog to sniff out certain items on command. To make learning this skill enjoyable for both you and your dog, play sniffing games. A combination of different games will ensure both you and your dog do not become bored of the routine.

Sausage Trail

    As with visual trails that humans follow to find their way, dogs often follow a similar distinct trail; however, they do so with their noses. Teach a dog to track a certain scent by using a trail game with a reward at the end. Prick a juicy sausage several times with a fork so that it releases some juice. Manually drag it around a lawn, never overlapping itself, and place it under a small upturned garbage can. Place your dog at the beginning of the trail and allow it to begin tracking the treat.

Treat Cups

    Much like the human "shell game," using sight to determine which cup a small ball or object is under after it has been moved around, treat cups enable dogs to play the same game, just with scents. Place a treat under one of three upside-down cups. Move them around the floor several times, mixing them up so the dog no longer knows by sight which one contains a treat. Then ask the dog to find the treat--it will sniff out the food. This trains its nose to be increasingly sensitive to one scent.

Hiding Toys

    Throw a ball or Frisbee with your dog several times in an area with underbrush or other objects close at hand. Then make a motion to throw the dog's toy again and while its back is turned, hide the toy under or beside a nearby object. Choose a spot where the dog can reach the toy by mouth, but where it is not clearly visible. As the dog bounds back to you, show it that you do not have its toy. The dog will then have to use its nose to find the nearby toy. Resume the game of throwing it again after the dog has found it.

Tossing Scents

    Tossing scents on the ground is an effective way to create a simple game out of sniffing, in any place you are with your dog. Allow your dog to mill around you, perhaps sniffing where you are sitting. While it has its back turned, scatter a few treats in different areas for the dog to find. While it may have heard the sounds of the treats falling, with multiple ones the dog will have to use its nose, not its ears, to find them.

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