Sniff training outside

October 29, 2014
It’s funny how the basic commands can also be the hardest. We sometimes have problems getting Whiskey to “lie down”, or “sit” quickly but as soon as we say “find it!” or “where’s daddy?” she immediately stops what she’s doing and starts looking.

I’ve started introducing a chain of commands now with her sniff training since she loves it so much. First, she’s told to “come here”, “sit” and “stay”, sometimes on an unstable platform. I’ll let her sniff the item I’m hiding, then I walk around, up to 5 meters away and drop snacks (lamb lung) in high and low places. I’ll then walk back and tell her to “find it” and after each find I’ll praise her and repeat “find it” until she gets them all. Now, as soon as I say “find it” she starts sniffing with her nose. When she’s found all the treats I then throw a party and tell her “that’s all!” and she knows the game is over. (hint: only as many treats as you can remember where they are)

Do you want to work?
SIT STAY and then I bobble the springs so she needs to keep her balance
staying while I position the treats
sniffing them out (she never remembers where i put them even if she is watching)
there’s one in the slide!
I like using the playground because it also becomes and agility work too

At first I would wander around the area where the treat was dropped as a hint to search more in a specific place. It was challenging to keep her in a stay while I walked around at first. If she broke her “stay”, I would try to get her to go back to her “stay” place and so it’s easier if the spot is in a defined area. She’s learned over time to search both high and low areas and it’s so much fun to watch. On the downside, she’s gotten extremely good at sniffing out food people have left in the parks. Did I mention sniff work is pretty tiring for dogs? Great for rainy days!

another sniff location
use locations that have a visual boundary
she will ignore people and dogs while she is “working”
searching high and low places
she loves this game!

At home we do this in a larger and larger area. It’s harder though, because we have a hungry cat and we don’t want them both competing for food. While Whiskey won’t jump up on the counter and steal food from a ziplock in my purse, Moo won’t let any barrier stop her! (Moo just stole a sausage from a pan as I typed this)

We’ve had to get another coat to keep up with her growth

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