A dog's nose is 1000 to 10,000 times more powerful than a human's, though their eyesight is actually quite poor. These scent-based games are a fun way to challenge your dog's sense of smell while teaching them new, useful skills. They're also easy enough for new dog owners, and even your kids can participate. You'll love seeing your dog sniffing away, putting that wonderful nose to good use.
1. Find the treat!
The most simple way to engage your dog's sense of smell is to hide a treat, then allow them to find it. You can use a release command like "go find it!" before allowing them to search. At first, you can make it easy by allowing them to watch you hide the treat, then you can up the ante by having them stay in another room, and trying increasingly difficult hiding spots. Don't increase the challenge too quickly, though, because you don't want your dog to get frustrated and give up. Use a high-odour treat like liver bites to keep your dog engaged.
2. Pick a Hand
This game is also great for teaching impulse control. Place a treat in one of your hands, then put your hands behind your back and switch the treat into your other hand. Then hold out your fists and let your dog sniff. Wait for them to nose or paw at one of your hands, and then open your hand to reveal the treat (or no treat!) As your dog gets good at this, you can wait for them to sit calmly before opening your hand.
You can play these simple games to get your dog's attention anywhere, anytime.
3. Cups Game
Your dog can use their eyes and ears to find treats in the Cup game. Place three identical cups upside down on a flat surface, and put a treat under one of them. Switch the cups around while your dog watches. Then, challenge your dog to figure out which cup contains the treat. At first, you can allow your dog to knock over the cups until they find the treat. To increase the challenge, wait for them to nose one of the cups, then pick up their chosen cup to allow them to take the treat, or to see if they chose the wrong cup. Then, reshuffle the cups.
4. Hide And SeekHide and seek is a fun game that teaches your dog a few important lessons. By having your dog stay without being restrained while you hide, you'll teach a strongÂ stay.Â They'll learn to use their nose to find you. They'll also develop a stronger recall, and will be more likely to come when called, even if they can't see you. Of course, you will do all of the hiding while your dog seeks. You can teach this with treats, though your dog will probably also enjoy the thrill of finding you. Offering your treats only some of the time can make the game more exciting for them.
5. Find The Scent: Beginner Nosework[caption id="attachment_2068" align="alignnone" width="500"]