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 is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, as a private dog trainer, and with working detection K9s. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her border collie Barley.