3 great indoor nosework games to play with your dog : Canine enrichment

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If you need ideas on how to mentally and physically entertain your dog, then read on. Here are three of my favourite nosework games to play with your dog.

3 nosework games for dogs
Photos courtesy of: Ruby the Red Boston – Instagram

The three cup game

This is a great indoor nosework starter game. Get out 3 cups or small tubs. Yoghurt pots are ideal – or something from your recycling stash. Line them up in a row in front of your dog.

  1. To start, put a treat under one of the cups while your dog is watching, give them the ‘Okay’  to show you which one is the right cup.
  2. When they choose correctly praise them & let them have the treat.
  3. Once your dog seems to get the hang of it you can make it more challenging by mixing the cups around after you place the treat.
  4. To make it even harder, use three cups that are the same.

The ‘which hand’ game

This is a great starter nosework game for dogs who haven’t practiced scent work before.

  1. Simply take a piece of kibble or a dog treat and place it in one of your hands.
  2. Hold both of your hands out towards your dog in a fist and have them pick which hand it’s in.
  3. If your dog starts by licking or pawing at your hands ignore them until they stop, then wait until they nose one of your hands. Open it so they can see if they won.
  4. If they continue to use their mouth or paw, move both your hands away from the dog and start again so they learn some impulse control.

Find the treats game

You can use your dog’s favourite treats for this nosework game, or their kibble food if they have that.

  1. Ask your dog to stay while you hide treats around the home.
  2. If your dog hasn’t played this game before, start out by making it easy by placing them in plain sight to get them used to the idea.
  3. It takes a while for dogs to stop relying so heavily on visual cues and to hone in their excellent sniffing ability.
  4. Once your dog has gone a few rounds, you can make it more challenging by hiding treats in some tougher spots. 
  5. See my video on How to Teach your Dog ‘ Find it’ for more details.

Check out this list of 100 tricks you can teach your pets for more ideas.

great nosework games for dogs
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