5 Simple Ways To Use Scent Enrichment On Your Dog Walks
Walking with our dogs is one of life’s simple pleasures, but how can we ensure they enjoy their walks as much as we do? One way is considering scent!
Our dogs are scent animals, they use scent more than sight and sound, so we can enrich their lives easily on walks by taking the dog’s scent picture into consideration. Take a look at some suggestions here:
Changing The Walking Area Changes The Scent
How often do you walk in the same area in the same direction? It’s great to have regular walks in the same direction and area if your dog has dog friends to meet and gets to play. If it’s just you and them though, it can get a bit tiresome and boring for them. My little dog Rosie visually comes alive when she walks somewhere new but doesn’t even particularly like going on the same walk for a few days in a row. There are loads of lovely new smells in new areas, making the walk so much more interesting.
Changing The Walk Time Changes The Scent
Different times of day mean that the air and scent moves differently. Dawn and dusk particularly give our dogs a little bit more excitement on walks and spicing up their lives just by changing the time we go for a walk is deliciously simple. Scent is interesting, it moves upwards, and the particles get bigger as the day gets warmer. Scent particles get smaller and fall to the ground as they get cold or the night draws in. In face scent literally rolls downhill at night, like water.
Searching For Fun
Something as simple as hooking your dog’s lead (safely) over a stump then letting them watch you hide a toy or some treats along a treeline will make a world of difference in their walks. Build the excitement by touching a few different areas (to leave scent particles behind) and leave them a trail of treats and/or their favourite toy in your path and then release and let them seek – they will love it.
Use the Wind
Taking your dog to a place and hiding some things for them is a great way to meet their needs. Remember to use the wind too, for example if you hide something and the wind is taking the scent in a different direction, the less confident dog might struggle.
If there is no wind the scent pools around the treat or toy in a general circle. If there is a wind, the scent takes the shape of a cone, in the direction of the wind. Therefore, if the wind is behind your dog’s prize blowing towards your dog they will weave in and out of the cone to find the prize. So, when you start playing with scent, make sure the wind is blowing the scent of your dog’s prize towards them. As they get more confident make it a little harder with a side wind. You can check the way the wind is blowing by throwing a handful of grass in the air and seeing which way it goes.
Try A Track
If you were to scuff a trail in the grass for your dog to follow they would smell not only the strong scent of broken grass but your shoes, the washing liquid used for your socks, your foot sweat and so much more. You can lay a track by scuffing along for a few metres and having someone hold your dog, then hide behind a tree and let them sniff their way to you.
This is just a little cross section of ideas to use scent on your dog walks. Remember to take your dog’s confidence into consideration and not make things too hard too soon, or they will just shy away from the new activity. Just hard enough to be fun, but not too challenging is key to building confidence.
For more ideas about how to make small tweaks and be an excellent dog guardian, check out my online course – which is currently at the amazing early bird price of £19.