Sniff and Go

09/02/2022

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SNIFF AND GO

In this tutorial you are going to learn an exercise that will improve your puppy’s ability to walk nicely past distractions by harnessing the power of using sniffing and exploration as reinforcement.

When you’re out on a lead walk with your puppy, start by letting them sniff and explore the environment. This will help them to feel safe and settle into the walk.

When your puppy is relaxed and you can see loose body language, get your puppy’s attention and prompt them to walk along beside you for a few paces. You can reward them as you go with treats but the key thing is to move only a short distance before stopping and allowing your puppy to explore again.

You can create a context so your puppy knows when you want them to focus and when they can enjoy the rich tapestry of environmental rewards. You can say the words ‘go explore’ before, relaxing how you hold the lead, and looking away from your puppy. Making it consistent every time will help your puppy to understand the difference between when it’s time for focused walking and when they can switch off for a while.

After a while, re-engage your puppy again before doing a few more paces of focused walking. When they’re getting the idea you can add the cue ‘let’s go’ when you want your puppy to come back to your side and walk with you.

Gradually build up the distance you walk between breaks and your puppy will soon be able to walk past lots of tempting distractions in the environment because they get the chance to explore and sniff at other times.

It’s great for you as you can enjoy stress free walks, and it’s great for your puppy as they get the chance to engage in naturally enriching behaviour with all the benefits it brings.

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