Nose work with the dog: exercises for home
Nose work is one of the favorite activities of every dog. As a dog owner, you always give your four-legged friend considerable pleasure when you challenge him and his impressive olfactory organ. Here you will find exciting nose exercises at home.
Nose work is an ideal way to exercise a dog appropriately to its species. The pelt-nose trains itself thereby both physically and mentally. Nose work exercises are also suitable for dogs that can no longer be motivated by treats: they first have to acquire the tasty reward that makes it appealing again.
To train nose work with your four-legged friend properly, you can attend introductory courses on tracking, target object search, or mantrailing. But nose work doesn’t have to take place only in the woods and meadows – you can also do some great exercises with your dog at home.
Sniff for all you’re worth: The search classic
Searching for dog food is the basis of many nose work exercises and a game whose difficulty level you can increase almost infinitely. To begin, take a treat or toy and hide it in the corner of the room, visible to the dog. After you say “Search!” your four-legged friend will have the object in his mouth soon after. For advanced sniffers, you can hide the treat or toy, for example, in another room that is not visible at first or in jars that your dog must first open, thus increasing the difficulty more and more.
On the trail of food: tracking at home
While your dog can chase human tracks through fields and meadows outside, he is somewhat more limited indoors. But there are also some indoor exercises, where your four-legged friend can follow exciting ways. Drag a piece of sausage across the floor at home to create a trail. Your dog may now start searching from the beginning of the course and expects a piece of sausage at the end as a reward. Attention: If you have laid the only carpet in your apartment, you should refrain from this exercise!
Tasty nose work: The laundry basket game
For the laundry basket game, you will need a laundry basket that is as closed all around as possible, several plastic balls, and empty toilet paper rolls. Put everything in a laundry basket, add dry food or treats and mix everything well. Your dog may then use nose work to search it to get to the treats.
Exercise with brains: The cup game
Like a professional shell game player, your dog must find a treat among several yogurt cups in the cup game. Place a few washed-out yogurt cups upside down on the floor and hide a treat under one of the cups. Your dog must now sniff out which food is hiding under without knocking over all the cups. As soon as your dog indicates the correct cup – for example, by barking or sitting down – you give him the sniffed treat as a reward.
Ingenious sniffing task: teabag search
Suppose your four-legged friend is to learn to sniff out certain, changing smells. In that case, tea bags are suitable as a training object: they have a solid inherent odor, are available in many different scent variations, and are very easy to use.
Similar to foraging, you can lay out the tea bag quite openly at first and later more and more hidden. Very important are of course lots of praise and reward, as soon as your fur nose has found. Increase the difficulty later by hiding different tea bags in the apartment. You hold out to your dog as a small sample, the kind that is to be seen with the exercise using nose work. Only when the correct bag is found will treats or other rewards be given.
Tip: If you put the teabag in a small plastic bag, it will last longer. Dogs can easily sniff out the tea even through the packaging.