A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than humans. Tap into this natural talent through smart nose work! Hearts in Harmony’s resident Hamilton dog training expert, Kim Miller, recommend scent games to harness your canine’s gift in a fun, meaningful, and rewarding way.
The Power of a Dog’s Nose
While puppies are virtually born blind, their sense of smell is already fully engaged and developed. In addition, dogs have roughly 300 million olfactory receptors compared to humans’ six million. The sector of their brain that processes scents is also 40 times bigger than ours. This enables them to perform exceptional feats, such as locate lost hikers, find victims of natural disasters, and even sniff out coveted truffles underground.
Unless your pooch is specially trained for these jobs, however, his nose is likely out of practice. Instead of using their noses to survive, domesticated dogs learn to rely more on their visuals after living in familiar places, such as your home.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to harness your dog’s astounding sense of smell. Add nose games to your local Leesburg dog training routine to develop his scent skills, keep him entertained, and unlock new skills and behaviors!
Benefits of Nose Games
Nose games utilize your dog’s natural scenting abilities constructively. They offer the following advantages:
• Mental stimulation – scent work requires your dog to think and analyze what you are asking him to smell, find, and accomplish
• Physical stimulation – dogs get more exercise when they play nose games
• Confidence building – every successful scent activity contributes to greater self-confidence for your furry friend
• Convenience – this type of game can be played indoors and outdoors, and doesn’t require complicated equipment apart from tasty treats and some basic items
On top of these, playing nose games strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It’s a fun and fulfilling addition to dog training in Leesburg, VA, and you can begin anytime you want.
3 Nose Games to Play with Your Dog
All you need for the most basic nose games are some strong-smelling treats, time, and patience! Below are some games you can play with your pooch:
1. Find the Snack
With your dog out of the room, place a couple of treats in full view, and wait for him to eat them. Repeat, but start hiding the treats beneath the sofa, behind the coffee table, or even under a cushion. Increase the difficulty by hiding the food in less obvious places or moving the game out into the yard.
2. Choose the Right Hand
Hold a treat in one of your closed fists. Tell your dog to “find it,” wait for him to choose a hand, then give him the treat. Repeat this several times and alternate your hands each time. Up the challenge by waiting until his nose is on “alert” with the treat hand before releasing it. You can also enlist a friend’s help to add more fists to the mix and make it harder.
3. Hide and Seek
Your dog loves you above anything else, even more than the tastiest treats! Make your Hamilton dog training more exciting by playing hide and seek with your dog. Hide in different places throughout the house, such as behind a door or inside a closet. Praise and reward your pup when he finds you. Once he has mastered this level, play the game outdoors to increase the difficulty.
Develop Your Dog’s Natural Skills with Positive Training
Learn more about harnessing your dog’s natural abilities with Hearts in Harmony! Call us at 1-540-454-4098 to sign up for our classes, schedule one-on-one training sessions, and more.
Hearts in Harmony is located in Hamilton, Virginia (10 minutes west of Leesburg) and serves Loudoun County and surrounding Fairfax, Frederick, Fauquier and Prince William counties. Kim Miller also travels throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the surrounding Metro Washington DC area.