Scent Work Basics
Scent Work should be fun for our dogs! They can learn all the skills of this game with a low pressure game using their own toys. To play this search game, all you will need to do is play with your dog using a toy and then have them wait, and then hide the toy a short distance away. When they get the toy, make a big fuss, play with them some more, and give them a treat. This is Iona’s favorite game, and I have played it with her thousands of times. It never gets old because the toys are always hidden in different locations. It is important to understands the concepts of scent work when hiding these toys though. Keep them accessible. Elevated will be harder than ground level, corners more difficult than thresholds, etc. You can actually set some very difficult puzzles for your dogs with this game. I also feel that this was a good way to teach Iona to be more versatile for what she was searching for. She can play this with any toy, or really any object now (such as my wallet), all I need to do is show it to her once and she will go and find it.
Obviously, you will not use the same search cue and start line for this game that you use with scent work.
Iona has been playing this game since she was a tiny puppy. Here is a really cute video of a young Iona playing this game. She was a lanky teenager in this video, wearing boys’ dinosaur underwear because she was in her first heat cycle! Look, her nose used to be black!