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Understand Your Dog - Scent Games

Articles - Understand your Dog

The behavior of a dog is the result of many factors. Some of these may include heredity, natural instinct, basic senses, past experiences and basic drives. All of these factors will contribute in one way or another to successful training and channelling your dog's natural behaviours is important.
You must remember, dogs like humans, are individually different and learn differently. This is an important aspect to consider in training, as a method that proves successful for one dog may not for another. Undesirable behaviour problems are still the main reason for the sad decision to give up ownership of a dog

There are a few basic activities here which are fun for all the gun dog breeds, but suitable for all dogs and can be a challenge if your dog is a hunter and chaser and you are always running after him when you think he is doing something wrong, these games will give him an outlet for some of his hunting behaviours as well as providing him with stimulation. Encourage him to use his brain and his natural behaviour of scenting, and you will have some fun together.

Take a handful of your dog’s dried food and throw it upwards (probably best done out of doors), then enjoy watching your dog use his nose to find the pieces.

With your hands behind your back, hide a treat in one closed hand. Offer your
dog both of your closed hands to sniff. If your dog sniffs or makes some move to indicate that he knows which hand it is in then praise him and give him the treat. Repeat with the treat in the other hand.

Hide and Seek
Step 1
: Either get someone to hold your dog, put him in his crate or ask him to
stay while he watches you hide a biscuit under a rug or cushion or
behind a door. Tell him to “find it” ( or the command you use) and release him to go and find
and eat the biscuit.

Step 2: Repeat this, hiding the biscuit in lots of different places, but still letting
your dog see where you are hiding the biscuit.

Step 3: Hide the biscuit in one of the usual places while your dog is not looking.
Release your dog into the room and tell him to “find it”.

Step 4: Repeat this, hiding the biscuit in lots of the usual places, but without
your dog seeing where you are hiding it. Your dog should now be
beginning to use his nose to find the biscuit.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1 to 4 in a different room or in the garden to test your dog and keep him interested.

If you repeat these steps in a variety of situations your dog should soon be confident
that if you say “find it” and he keeps searching he will find a reward.

Step 6: Now try this with one of his favourite toys. When he finds it have a game
with him with the toy or swap the toy for a treat and hide the toy again.

To take this game out of doors on a walk drop a toy or training aid, walk on a few paces
and then send your dog back to “find it”. When your dog finds the article swap it for a tasty treat.
Repeat this gradually increasing the number of steps you take before sending your dog back to “find it”.

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