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Introduction to Nose Games

Nose Work 1 an Introduction to Nose Games
April 28th, 2010 by Minette

Dogs can’t read books, they don’t watch television, (well at least not for very long), they don’t scrap book, or build things but they still need hobbies!  If a dog’s mind is not entertained, he will find his own hobby to engage in, but often dogs choose inappropriate behavior such as; barking, digging, chewing, ripping up carpeting, eating drywall, chasing children, stealing, and other general naughtiness.
Most often when I hear my clients complain about these behaviors I wonder if the dog is truly mentally and physically stimulated at home.  If I was locked in a room with 4 white walls and one sofa with nothing to do for days on end, sooner or later I would shred the sofa too!  You must find ways to entertain your dog’s mind to help him stay well behaved.
A dog’s sense of smell is 2000 greater than that of a human.  I often liken reading a book or watching a movie to a dog following a scent or even digging through layers of ground scents (although we consider this naughty, each layer of ground has a new and different story for your dog’s nose)
A Dog’s Nose Can Find
Missing Persons, Cadavers, and Disease like cancer cells, Seizures, Molds Insects like termites. Explosives Drugs’ and Fruits and Veggies at customs
Your Dog's Most Powerful Sense
It is instinctual for dog’s to use their noses, so I like to teach my dog’s how to use them appropriately and how to play games with their noses.  This is also appropriate to do with multiple dogs, as long as it doesn’t get too competitive.
In Nose Work 1, we will discuss the basics of teaching you dog to use his sense of smell at home, and later I will discuss different ways to teach your dog to use his nose in his outside world and how to teach him scent discrimination.
How To Get Started
  1. Air pop some popcorn, do not use microwave popcorn with butter or salt; this is too hard on your dog’s kidneys.  Use plain popcorn for this training because it is easy to see, nonfattening, and easy to smell
  2. First I toss some pieces of popcorn on the floor in front of my dogs and say “Find It” .  “Find It” means to use your eyes, nose and ears (if appropriate).
  3. Once your dog is adept at looking around and eating the popcorn, hold his collar or avert his eyes as you toss the popcorn so that he will not see it fall, you can use a helper if you need to, and then give him the “Find It” command. If he is having trouble finding it, calmly walk toward the popcorn without leaning over or showing him and wait till he finds it, or back up a step in training. When your dog is clearly looking around and you can hear him sniffing he is ready to move on to the next step.
  4. Next toss a piece of popcorn clearly out of his range of sight but within easy reach if he wanders around; like behind your chair or sofa or around a corner and give him the command.  Again, he should be clearly using his eyes and his nose to search for the popcorn.
  5. Then start hiding the popcorn under things like the table or the edge of the sofa, be careful that he is able to get to the popcorn or he may become frustrated bite the furniture or scratch the carpet.
  6. Next hide things at table or sofa level like on the sofa, a chair, or a book shelf (avoid the kitchen table this time ha ha)
  7. Now begin hiding things on a higher level above his nose level.  He must be taught that things can be found on all levels of his environment or he will give up if he can’t find it easily

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