Welcome to Day 69 of #100daysofenrichment and thank you for joining us on this journey!
Although our challenges are directed mainly at dogs, we want all species to enjoy and benefit from #100daysofenrichment so, please join in, adjust and adapt to help your pet or companion live a more enriched life.
Saturdays during #100daysofenrichment are all about emphasising the dog in all our dogs; all about sniffing and doing dog things.
Last week, Day 62, we had lots of fun with searches and scavenger hunts…this week, we are going to build on that, get our dog tracking, following a trail we lay for them.
Your dog is already really good at this but now we are going to ask him to search for something we know is hidden, along a particular trail.
This adds new skills to his repertoire and gets them working through the scent-puzzle systematically.
When choosing a search area, check it carefully before bringing the dog in and beginning the search.
Check for cables, sockets, glass, sharp objects or corners, machinery or moving parts, nails or staples, hot surfaces, slippery surfaces, hazardous substances, distractions from scents; even things like doors or steps can cause the dog to bring their head up suddenly, striking it.
Always play safe!
Today we are going to hide food and toys, laced with scents. If you don’t have hunting scents, don’t worry, you can do the food drag hunts with your pet, or practice some of last week’s toy searches.
Keep it simple, and think of how the air might flow through a space to understand how your dog will detect and narrow in on odour. We talk a lot about this on Day 55 too!
Today’s challenge is about teaching your dog how to track, rather than air scent; about helping your dog learn to keep their nose to the ground and follow a trail.
Use softer, smellier treats for this challenge.
- set up when your dog is out of sight
- walk in a straight line and drop a treat in each step
- have a little jackpot pile of treats, out of sight, at the end of the trail
Let your dog practice this set-up a few times, until he is working his way down the trail to the jackpot, systematically. This is a basic version of our scavenger hunts from last Saturday.
Stage 2: reduce the number of treats in the trail to every second or third (or even fourth) step toward the jackot
- instead of dropping treats along the trail, smear a treat into the ground so that their are only traces of the treat every couple steps
- lay a straight trail, in the same manner as Stages 1 & 2
- let your dog track to the jackpot
- set up as you did for Stage 3
- tie your smelly treat to the end of a dog lead, shoe lace, cord or similar
- drag it along the ground and smear it a little at regular intervals
- have the whole treat at the end, just out of sight, as the jackpot
Work through the stages exactly as above, except for more advanced challenges, add in a turn to the trail.
Hunting a scented toy can really be a big thrill for lots of dogs! Use hunting scents, that can be purchased from hunt supply outlets, and come in a range of different options, from fowl to mammals, to cater to your dog’s likes.
Add just a few drops to each side of a plush or soft toy. This will absorb the scent and each time the dog bites the toy or manipulates it, more scent will be released, increasing the sensory experience.
Tie the toy to the end of a dog lead or cord and drag it slowly along the ground, in a straight line. Hide the toy just out of sight and allow the dog to have a game with it or carry it around once he has found it.
It’s best to have one or two special toys that you use like this and that you put them away in a tin or plastic container, with a lead, when not being played with.
Now it’s your turn. Show us what you and your pets, of any species, can do with these challenges!
Post to your social media accounts, using the #100daysofenrichment so that we can find you and join our Facebook group to share your experiences, ideas and fun!
You can comment right here too 🙂
We look forward to hearing from you and your pets – have fun & brain games!