Dogs possess 300 million- one billion olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans. They even have a special organ called a Jacobsen’s organ that’s dedicated entirely to smells. Their world is not a visual one as it is to us but a richly odoriferous one.
All dogs can benefit from doing nose work and nose work can be done right at home and on walks! Here are a few of my favorite sniffing games:
🐾 Find it
Simply toss a treat for your pup and say “find it”. As they get better, toss the treat out a little further. Another variation is to cue your pup to “wait” while you hide a stinky treat. To level up, let your dog watch you pretend to hide the treat in different spots. Then release your pup and watch him sniff out the right spot!
🐾 Scatter feeding
It’s as easy as it sounds, scatter your pups' food around the house and watch them go on a sniffing rampage.
🐾 Snuffle Box/Treasure Box
Grab a box and fill it up with your pup’s toys. Scatter kibble or a favorite treat in the box filled with toys and let your pup sniff out all the goodies. You can level up by having several boxes, some can be filled with kibble and one can be filled with a couple of your pup’s favorite goodies. Simple yet effective mental stimulation.
Instead of a fast paced 3 mile walk, slow down a bit and take your pup on a sniffari. A sniffari is a dog guided walk where your pup gets to sniff to his heart's galore. Sniffari’s encourage calmness and enrich your dog’s mind. So on your next walk, loosen up that strict heel, slow down a bit, and let your pup take a second to check his pee-mail.