- Have your dog learn to search outdoors.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Strong-smelling treats your dog will love. I’ve had success with salmon jerky, gorgonzola cheese, and baked liver.
- A safe, fenced area where your dog can search without a leash.
- Possibly, some of the original boxes and containers you used in the first two lessons.
- Set up the activity outside in the yard or on your porch while your dog remains indoors.
- 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.
- If your dog has been successful at finding treats in previous weeks, try hiding a treat on a stone or garden feature.
- If you aren’t confident in your dog’s ability to generalize the game to an outdoor setting, or if she’s very distracted outdoors, use the boxes and containers from the first two weeks to signal to your dog that this is the same game from indoors.
Playing the Game:
By now your dog has been successfully finding treats indoors in a variety of situations. Searching outdoors, with distractions and breezes, is exponentially harder.
If you sense your dog struggling or getting frustrated, go back a step. Or choose an outdoor area that is protected, such as a garage or porch.
- Bring your dog to the entry way of the area where she’ll search.
- Hold her gently by the collar before turning her loose to sniff the treat.
- Tell your dog to “find it” and step back.
- As with previous weeks, if your dog looks to you for help, show her your empty hands and she should go back to searching.
- Praise your dog when she finds and eats the hidden treats.
- If your dog has difficulty outdoors, you may move slightly closer to the hide. But be careful not to draw too much attention to yourself.
Remember, this is a big leap. So if your dog just isn’t getting it, move back indoors for a while. Keep it fun.
Set aside time throughout the week to practice. Realize that outdoors distractions and weather will change the experience for your dog, making it much harder.
Things You May See From Your Dog This Week
Your dog should be able to respond to your “find it” cue no matter where. You may also see
- Better concentration despite distractions.
- More efficient searching methods.
- Greater speed in finding the treat.
After six weeks, formal nose work classes move on to pairing food treats with special scents (clove, birch, anise, etc.) for dogs to find.
If you and your dog love nose work, you may want to look for an advanced class or training club to help you move on.
But Honey and I enjoy just searching for treats and it’s still a fun and mentally stimulating activity to enjoy together.
Whichever way you decide to go, just have fun.