- Your dog should learn that they’re playing the nose game even if there are no boxes around.
- Increase their drive and focus on the task.
- Learn about your dog’s developing style of sniffing.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Strong-smelling treats your dog will love. I’ve had success with salmon jerky, gorgonzola cheese, and baked liver. You can use less smelly treats as they get better at the game.
- A room with space to move. If you have a very large area, like an unfinished basement, set up some barriers so the search area isn’t too large. But you can use a larger search area than you did the first two weeks.
- Common household objects in which to hide treats.
- Move your dog to a room other than the one where you’ll be setting up the game. If your dog has separation anxiety and wouldn’t tolerate this well, try putting a baby gate across the door to keep him from interfering with your set up. You’ll just have to be trickier when it’s time to hide the treats.
- If you have multiple pets, you’ll want to work one dog at a time. Find a secure place for your other pets while each dog is working.
- “Decorate” the floor with common household objects–laundry baskets, blankets, stepladders, chairs–whatever you have around.
- Hide the treats in or around one of the objects on the floor.
- If your dog is watching you set up from behind a baby gate, “fake hide” treats.
Playing the Game:
This week, you won’t be using boxes or the plastic container. Your dog should have the idea that a game is coming, especially if they’ve learned the cue phrase, “Find it.”
- Bring your dog to the entry way of the area where he’ll search.
- Hold him gently by the collar before turning him loose to find the treats.
- As with the past two weeks, if your dog looks to you for help, show him your empty hands and he should go back to searching.
- Celebrate and act excited when your dog finds the treat (it’s so much fun, I dare you to not sound excited!).
- Repeat the find about 3 or 4 times. If you think it’s getting too easy for your dog, you can add a challenge by putting the treats inside or under an object or by putting it at a slightly higher level.
- Once again, end the game with your dog wanting more.
Set aside time throughout the week to practice. Continue to work in a medium-sized space with the household items as your dog learns the game.
Things You May See From Your Dog This Week
Here’s some things you may see from your dog:
- If you use a cue phrase, like “find it,” you’ll find your dog gets right to work.
- He may get faster in his searching.
- Your dog may show a distinctive search style–slow and deliberate, organized, or running around seemingly at random until they focus in on the scent.
- A higher level of focus on the task.