Sniff and Go

09/02/2022

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SNIFF AND GO

Dogs love to sniff and use their nose. It’s one of their most powerful senses and helps your dog to find out important information about their surroundings as well as social situations.

When you are walking with your dog you can use the ability to sniff and investigate as a valuable reward for other activities – like walking politely on a lead by your side.

Start off by getting your dog to walk nicely beside you. After several paces you can approach an area you think your dog might like to investigate. Be mindful when approaching an interesting area, that your dog might get excited in anticipation. Look for changes in body language and be sure to work within your dog’s skill level.

Before your dog starts to pull, signal to them that they can go and sniff the environment. You can create context by saying the words ‘go sniff’, gesturing to the area or simply relaxing how you hold the lead. Consistency will help your dog know when they can disengage from you and freely explore the environment.

After a while your dog will be ready to move on. You will start to see their nose lift or their attention shift focus. At this moment call your dog back to your side before continuing to walk on together to the next sniff spot.

Utilising environmental rewards for your dog in this way will enable you to reduce the number of treats you use throughout your walk, but still be able to richly reward them for desirable behaviour.

Be sure to practice in many environments to enhance your dog’s skills.

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