Enrichment Part One: The Nose Knows
Daily enrichment provides both mental stimulation and opportunities for your dog be a dog. Enrichment doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. Just think about ways to let your dog use her brain and practice her doggy behaviors like sniffing, chewing, or digging.
Today I’ll focus on a few ways to enrich your dog’s life through her nose.
The sniffy-walk—or Sniffari—is one of the easiest ways to give your dog excellent enrichment and mental stimulation. Simply take your dog for a leisurely walk in which he gets to sniff whatever he would like for as long as he likes. Keep an eye on him, though, in case he finds something like a slice of pizza that you don’t want him to have! (Until I had a dog, I had no idea how much food ends up on the ground.)
Food-find designed by you is another easy way to add enrichment to your dog’s day. Hide treats around your home and have your dog find them—start with easy-to-spot hiding places and gentle guidance and then make things tougher to find as your dog gets better at the game. You can also toss your dog’s kibble into the yard and let her nose lead her to it. Or you could get a snuffle mat and hide treats or her breakfast in it.
If you want to give your dog more formal nose-centric training, you can introduce him to K9Nosework. Many training facilities offer Nosework classes where your dog can practice finding treats and then graduate to locating scents. You can even enter him in competitions.
If you have any fun, nose-based enrichment that you do with your dog, feel free to share it in the comments!