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What is scent enrichment? And why is it important?
- Providing opportunities for the dog to engage his super power, his nose, in a variety of ways.
- Olfaction is the dog’s primary scent. Sometimes we forget that since that is not the case for us humans.
- Mental enrichment can be more tiring!
- Great for dogs who are worried about the world.
- Excellent for crappy weather.
What are some different types of scent enrichment:
- Essential oils, perfumes, and spices on a towel. Use very little oil!
- Animal scents on a towel, tug toy, flirt pole, and/or buried item.
- Scents inside PVC pipes (with drilled holes).
- Tossing treats in the yard and letting your dog hunt for them.
- Sniffing on walks.
What is Nose Work?
- AKC Nose Work: https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-scent-work/
- Fenzi Dog Sports Academy: https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/
How do you teach your dog to play Nose Work?
Variables to consider when increasing difficulty:
- Location of the search
- Search size
- Inside the boxes vs. outside the boxes
- Hide placement
- Wind speed/direction
Common mistakes we make:
- Making it too hard too quickly.
- Engaging with dog, open and close treat bags, talking to them.
- Rewarding the dog for engaging w/ you.
- Staring at the dog.
- When they make a mistake, help them out and take a step near the odor.
- Making it too scary and moving too quickly for fearful dogs.
- Nosework article JDT
- K9s Talking Scents Podcast
- Ep 004: Science of Odor
- Ep 007: Canine Cognition
- Canine Enrichment for the Real World Book by Allie Bender & Emily Strong
- Emily Strong’s Canine Conversations podcast episode: EP08: Mechanics Matter with Emily Strong
- Mental Stimulation Options:
Kayla grew up in northern Wisconsin and studied ecology and animal behavior at Colorado College. She founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She’s an avid adventurer and has driven much of the Pan-American Highway with her border collie Barley. She now travels the US in a 2006 Sprinter with her two border collies, Barley and Niffler. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams.