K9 Nose Work – week 3

Week 3


  • 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.

You’ll find instructions for week 4 here.

K9 Nose Work Tutorial Week 3