Like chewing, scent enrichment satisfies an important natural drive that every dog has. By providing healthy outlets that stimulate our dog’s natural desires we are improving their lives immensely. This can be as simplistic as allowing your dog to stop during a walk to check out his neighbors “pee-mail” and leave their own messages. Just sniffing in leaves and grass gives them so much information about the other dogs in the area, wildlife, or humans that have passed by. We do our dogs a disservice by insisting we rush to our destination with no thought for the journey. Hmmm… I wonder if there is another message there for us?
How do we provide sniffing opportunities for our dogs? Theses can be Pre-made or naturally occurring. Our dogs love them all!
Pre-Made Scent Enrichment
There are many toys available on the market to inspire us to add variety to our dogs’ lives. Whether stuffed or rubber, you can find a toy that suits your dog’s interests and chew habits. The pet market has improved our likelihood of success by coming out with more and more pre-made options for those of us who aren’t feeling terribly creative.
Another great idea for your dog is a snuffle mat. Treats or kibble are easy to hide in the fronds and the dog must use his nose to find the prizes! Sniff sniff… yum! These can be handmade or purchased.
You can also hide treats around the room for your dog to sniff out and find. Make it easy for a beginner by making them accessible without having to move an object to get a treat. You can increase difficulty by hiding under an upside down box, planter or coffee can that must be moved to win the reward.
Naturally Occurring Scent Enrichment
I like to refer to grass as Nature’s Snuffle mat. Whether you allow your dog the chance to sniff the wonders already present in the grass, or intentionally sprinkle treats(or even a meal!) in the grass, the dog has an amazing opportunity for olfactory delight. Life doesn’t get much better!
Herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and mint can be refreshing for both dogs and humans. Whether you plant these around your home, or find them on a walk, they are adding to the scent adventure! Stop and smell the flowers. (You knew I had to say it!)
Did you miss last week’s overview on satisfying your dog’s urge to chew? Catch it now!