Our dog’s world is one of scent. Using their nose is a necessity and enhances their life, so we need to allow them this opportunity whenever possible. Jessica Roberts, pet writer, helps us with her tips for enhancing your dog’s sense of smell…
(And continue below to hear my interview with the person who knows a dog’s nose best – Dr Alexandra Horowitz.)
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. For a more detailed explanation into the world of a dog’s nose, check out the excellent and informative Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz. Unfortunately, unless your pooch has been expertly trained to sniff for bombs or drugs, he’s probably not getting the most out of his nose. Here are some tips for helping reawaken your dog’s sense of smell.
Let Your Dog Sniff
We’ve all been there, standing around for five minutes while our dog intently sniffs a fire hydrant or tree trunk or patch of grass. Most of us are guilty of pulling our dogs along, impatient for them to produce so we can get home. But the best part of a walk for a dog is investigating all the new smells that have appeared since the last walk. So if you have the time, try to let your pup sniff away to his heart’s content to help strengthen his smell memory.
Play the Find It Game
Scent games are fun for you and your dog, and here’s an easy one. Take one of your dog’s favorite treats, ask her to sit, show her you have the treat, make her stay (or wait), go into the next room, hide the treat somewhere, then call your dog in and watch her sniff every inch of the room looking for that treat. When she does find it, be sure to praise her. The more you play the Find It game, the better your dog will get at picking up the scent and then you can up the ante by hiding treats in different rooms of the house and even outside.
Play Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is another fun and easy game. Ask your dog to sit, tell him to stay (or wait), go into another room, and call your dog when you’ve found a good hiding spot. Try to pick a spot that’s out of sight and when you feel that cold wet nose against your skin, be sure to praise your dog so he knows the game is fun for both of you. Challenge him by finding new places to hide and even extending the amount of time he stays before he’s allowed to come out and find you.
Enhancing your dog’s sense of smell is easy if you follow these tips to keep their nose sharp!
About the author
Jessica Roberts is a freelance writer who offers blogging services for the pet industry. She works closely with businesses to provide engrossing and informative content that boosts Google visibility and social media ratings. When she isn’t writing, she’s walking her Border Collie/Aussie mix, Socks, and making a mess in the kitchen. For more of her services, visit her website, www.jessicarobertsonline.com.
Interview with Dr Alexandra Horowitz, dog cognition research scientist…