Winter is here and as we stay contained indoors cabin fever takes hold. The
same goes for our dogs. Boredom is one of the biggest contributors
to behavior issues in dogs. Fortunately, there are many easy and fun ways to burn brain calories. As I write this, Zorba Two Feet (featured below) is reminding me that activity is needed in the near future.
Quick tips to survive the rest of winter with our dogs:
-Feed their kibble out of interactive treat toys.
-Play “Go Sniff” by sprinkling their kibble or toys around the home
for them to find. Make sure the rewards are easily accessible for your dog.
-Give them a pre-frozen Kong BEFORE you settle down for the family meal.
-Use a snuffle mat or throw away towel (one that will never be used by
humans again) and sprinkle their kibble with a couple treats in for them to
hunt around and find.
-If your dog loves snow, put “Snowball” on cue. Have a snowball
ready. When your dog looks at you say “Snowball” and toss the
The following game is not only an easy introduction into nose
work, but also builds further bonds between you and your dog.
“Find PERSON”: Find person is one of many games for beginning level
scent work games. Use a toy or treats your dog adores to ensure
their desire to the find the person named.
-The verbal cue is “Find XXXX (fill in person’s name)”
-With your dog looking at you say “Find XXXX”
-Ensure the person’s name being said is within sight and not far away.
-When the person hears their name said they should immediately make fun
noise. Don’t use known verbal cues like “Come.”
-When the dog turns towards the person named, the person can mark the
action with a sound like “ta” or “good” and give a reward upon arrival.
-Repeat 5 times, having the person move around the room but still
-If your dog looks at the person but does not go towards them, decrease
the distance between your dog and the person.
-Repeat 5 times but when the person name is said they keep quiet and
only make a fuss when the dog arrives in front of them.
-When you feel your dog understands the verbal cue “Find XXXX” test it!
-Have the person hide around a corner, but within close distance to your
-Say “Find XXXX”
-If the dog immediately uses their nose to find the person give them a
jackpot of treats on arrival!
-Over time have the person hiding go to further places around your
-By the time spring returns you will be ready to take this game outside!
There are so many activities to engage your dog’s nose and brain, nose
work is just one place to start. This is one of the many reasons why we are
passionate about our nose work and energy outlet group classes, dogs go home
happily tired! Now off to play in the snow with my dogs!