Gracie has always enjoyed Nose Work, a dog sport, where the dog has to find what has been hidden in order to get a treat. Dogs learn this sport starting with hidden treats, which is what Gracie has done up to this point.
Last week, we started on a more advanced version, and she is starting to work with odors – birch, to be exact. It is paired with a treat as the dog learns and eventually she will be able to search just for the odor.
On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being very enthusiastic, Gracie is a 12. The birch odor is much stronger than the treats we’ve always used and she searches a high speed. When we used treats, she used to use her head too much and often looked where she though the hide was likely to be. With the odors she is definitely using her nose more. She catches the scent very quickly and works fast to find it. So much fun.
I made you a little video, and I helped Gracie a little on the third treat so the video wouldn’t be too long. But she will work as long as it takes to find the paired hide right now, and in case you can’t tell, she’s having a blast. I think our foster, Leelu, wants in on the play too!
We had done a few rounds of this before this video, so you see her looking in places that she found them before this. Even though the swab carrying the odor is in an enclosed tin, the smell is still pretty strong, so she’s finding residual odors.
And one of the best things about Nose Work? Tired dog when you’re done, and that tired dog is a good dog!