Welcome to Day 90 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.
Simple Scent Puzzle: Where’s my keys?
Saturdays during #100daysofenrichment are all about emphasising the dog in all our dogs; all about sniffing and doing dog things.
If you played last Saturday’s sniffing game, this takes the next step but if you missed last week, start with that or work through the options for today’s challenge!
Option 1 Warm Up
To get your dog started and motivated for finding treats out of sight, play this simple scent puzzle:
Option 2 Scent Puzzlin’: the cup game
This simple game is excellent for rainy days and for calming excited dogs, and helps to teach your dog to indicate the location of hidden find.
Introduce the Cup Game to your dog:
- you will need some yummy treats and three similar, opaque cups or small tubs
- start with just one cup – hide a treat under it and release your dog to find it
- when they nudge the cup, you can let them reveal the treat themselves, or to teach an indication, toss some food rewards onto the floor and then reveal the hidden treat for them
- with that perfected, add a second cup but hide only one treat – hide the treat when your dog is out of the room and switch around the cups a little, so even you are confused
- repeat the game
- now you’re ready to introduce the third cup and play a more challenging game
- switch around the cups so that you don’t know which one is hiding the treats so that you can’t unintentionally prompt the dog and give the game away
Play over and over – this is a dog-game that never gets old!
Option 3 Scent Puzzlin’: where’s my keys?!
Playing the Cup Game with your keys helps to teach your dog the relevance of their smell.
Reward your dog at source for this one – that means to reward with several food rewards, delivered one after another right at your keys.
(Note in the clip I toss food to move Decker away so I can reset – I’m working with one hand and holding the camera with the other!)
You can use any item you like, once it’s safe for your dog to sniff.
You can play these games over and over…dogs never tire of them!
Sniffing on cue
We don’t need to teach our dogs to sniff; they got that down. But, we can teach them the meaning of a specific signal: see this set up…sniffing for food.
Cues (or antecedents) are the things that tell an animal to do a behaviour because it results in reinforcement (or tells them to avoid a behaviour that results in punishment). All behaviours are naturally cued by things that happen around the animal and teaching is about helping the animal learn the meaning of cues we introduce.
Cues can be sounds, words, hand signals, gestures or other environmental signals, like our sniffing course set-up; anything that the dog can perceive.
Different types of cues work better in different environments, for different dogs, and for different behaviours.
Today’s challenges will rely on environmental cues – your sniffing course set-up.
Sniffing for food
Ideally, we would like our dogs to be sniffing out their regular meals, as much as possible. But, some dogs will need a little help to get them going and we can have our dog sniffing for treats too!
Kibble is a pretty versatile food type for enrichment type feeding, and works well for this exercise.
You can add kibble in with other yummier treats and toss those. Or you can make a Training Mix so that kibble smells and tastes yummier, but without having to add extra calories or other foods, should the dog be sensitive or restricted.
You can improve the smell/taste of kibble by grilling it a little, so that it becomes crunchier and oilier. You might also soak it in stock or other flavouring.
Wet and fresh foods can be a little more challenging:
- Fresh meats and meat mixes (e.g. raw and home prepared diets) – cut up into small pieces, boiled or baked, frozen in small ice cube trays or pyramid baking mats for small individual treats.
Alternatively, you could use dried or semi-moist meats and cut them into small pieces for tossing. (Note that you feed a smaller volume of dried or dehydrated foods as they are more concentrated.)
- Wet feeds (e.g. canned foods) – frozen in small ice cube trays or pyramid baking mats for small, individual treats.
Don’t forget fruit and vegetables too, if you’re dog likes them. Frozen peas are one of Decker’s favourite for sniffing!
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!