With the colder weather, it’s a little harder to exercise our pets. Susan Frank, the host of Raising Your Paws podcast presented by Nutrisource Pet Foods, shares a different way you can wear your pet out.
Nutrisource Pet Food is a local three-generation family owned business from Minnesota. NutriSource has a new treat manufacturing plant down the road from the food plant, in the town of Delano, Minnesota.
You can find their products at stores like Frattallones Ace Hardware, Chuck and Don’s, Menards, and Pet Evolution. For more information and to check out their new packaging, click here.
Engage Your Pet with Their Noses
Steps to use to start playing “scent” games with your dogs and cats.
From an article in the Whole Dog Journal, here is a description that includes an optional technique to have your pet find clothing or people.
Nose Work is Great Exercise for Dogs!
Elementary scent work or nose games can exhaust a dog just as quickly as hard physical exercise. Try it!
- Teach your dog a “Find it” cue by dropping a tasty treat on the ground and telling your dog to “Find it!” Repeat several times until your dog’s eyes light up when she hears the cue.
- Have her sit or lie down, and tell her to “Wait” or “Stay” or have someone hold her collar if she won’t wait when you ask her to. Walk a few paces away and show her a treat. Place it on the ground as you remind her to wait. Return to her side, face the treat, and release her with your “Find it!” cue. Encourage her, if necessary, to run out and eat the treat.
- Repeat Step 2 several times, and then let her watch you hide a treat in “easy” hiding places – behind the leg of a chair, under the coffee table, etc.
- After several successful finds, let her watch you hide two treats, then three treats, in easy places. (note from Susan Frank – this is optional: it’s an additional layer to the skill. During this step, start rubbing the treat on a paper towel and ask her to “sniff” before you tell her to “Find it.”)
- Next, let her watch you hide treats in harder places – on elevated surfaces, under things, and behind things. (Optional: continue to ask her to sniff the scented paper towel before sending her to “Find it.”)
- Now it gets really fun. Put your dog in another room while you hide several treats or a chew stick. Then bring her back in the room. (if doing the additional skill, let her sniff the paper towel, and tell her to “Find it.”) Don’t help her! The whole idea is that she has to work hard with her nose to find the treats. If she can’t find one or more after searching for some time, remove her from the room, pick up the hidden treats, and try again with the treats in easier places.
Note: from Susan Frank – I use the clue “Go Find” and when my dog Rosy is having problems with really hard finds, so that she does not become overly frustrated, I do give her hints at times pointing in the direction of where the chew stick is hidden.)
When your dog has learned how to search, this makes a great rainy day indoor exercise activity. You can also routinely scatter her meals around the yard so she has to search through the grass to find them; put her on a long line if you don’t have a fence. You can also name her favorite toys and have her find them. You can even have family members and friends hide and have her find them. (Use their name and a scented clothing article with your “Sniff,” “Find Joey” cues.)
Caution from Susan: When feeding from out of puzzles or dishes scattered around the room, or playing any scent games, if you have multiple animals, to prevent resource guarding, separate them into different rooms while playing or have them take turns, closing one off in a room while the other one searches and then switch. This is especially important for cats – not to create competition for food.
To learn more about the sport of K-9 Nose work:
There are many videos online that show you how to do this at home.
Here’s the link to the official K-9 Nose work website
How to find classes to take: National Association of Canine Scent Work
Listen to the “Raising Your Paws” podcast and to contact Susan Frank go to www.raisingyourpaws.com.