"Part 3 "Mental Activities"
Those cute, wriggly noses play a very important part in a dog's life and not only that, they're important in the human world too. To us, we just see a dog's nose but to them, it helps them to understand the world, smelling every smell around, helping them "see" the goings on of everyday life. A dog's sense of smell can be from 1,000 up to 100,000 times greater than a human's sense of smell - now that's a lot! We humans discovered this many centuries ago and have learned to work alongside dogs in lots of different ways. Way back, dogs were used to help tribes hunt, helping them track down wild animals for food and in exchange for helping with a successful hunt, the dogs were rewarded with food, water and shelter. These days, dog's noses are known for helping out with sniffing for illegal substances, traces of explosives and they have even been trained to detect the smallest amount of cancer cells. So if you're looking at your dog now, thinking that they wouldn't be good as sniffer dogs, well you could possibly be wrong!
There are many different ways to re-enact sniffing situations for your dog to get their noses active, such as coming up with different sniffing games or getting Activity Puzzles for them. There are lots of different types and levels from beginner to advanced.
If your dog hasn't been introduced to a puzzle game, start off on a low level first and work your way up.
These Activity Puzzles are stimulating and exciting for your dog and they will provide a good workout for your dog's nose so that they can get those tasty treats! If your dog becomes frustrated i.e pawing, biting, flipping over the puzzle, etc. take it away from them and re-introduce it at a later stage, once your dog has had chance to cool off. I have seen many comments saying "Rubbish and a waste of money, my dog just flips it over and all the treats come out". These puzzle are meant to be fun yet challenging, so take your time with them, there's no need to rush!
Bark&Play's Nose Wiggling Game - "SniffSniff"
As some may know, we provide different activities out on our walks, these can be physical or mental challenges and with these the dogs enjoy themselves so much more. Here I am going to talk about a game we call "SniffSniff", which provides a nose work-out that tires those pooches out! Along our walks, we find a suitable spot that has high and low points, as well as some hiding spots. One of us distracts the dogs, while the other scatters little treats about. These are hidden up high i.e on top on a log, stone, etc and some are hidden amongst the ground. We then shout "SniffSniff"and the dogs have learnt to go about the area using their noses to find those tasty treats. Our game is very rewarding for the dogs and they enjoy it so much that their tails don't stop wagging throughout! This type of game lasts for about 5-10 minutes overall depending on difficulty and we do aim to play at least once on every walk. You should try it! Take a handful of tasty treats, show them to your dog and then scatter a few near them just to start with. When your dog starts sniffing, introduce the words "SniffSniff" as your dog goes frantic searching for those treats. After your dog gets the hang of the word, start upping the difficulty, hide one peaking out of a rock, on the edge of a flower pot, etc. They will be having fun in no time and it's such a simple game to get those noses working!
"Happiness is a wet nose, tail wags and lots of doggy kisses!" - Jo_DogWalker