We all know that a dog’s sense of smell is many times more powerful than a human’s. Not only do they have more scent receptors in their noses, but the part of the brain that analyzes scent is much larger in dogs as well. We’ve put dogs to work because of their great sense of smell for hundreds of years…but what about a little bit of fun with smell too?
Modern Dog magazine has put together a great list of scent games you can play with your dog. Here are a few simple ways to engage your dog’s sense of smell. Be sure to check out the article for full details and more games HERE.
Hide treats around the house: Place treats in different places that your dog can find by accident. You can mix up the hiding locations and types of treats you use. For even more fun, hide a treat-filled food dispensing or puzzle toy.
Play “pick the hand”: Put a tempting treat in one of your hands and place both hands out (loose fist, palms down). Move your hands back and forth and let your dog find the treat. Praise your dog when you open your hand and give him the treat.
Play hide and seek games: You can play the classic hide and seek game with your dog both indoors and outdoors. Your dog will use her sense of smell to find you. Make sure you have a reward ready when she does.
The “shell game”: Hiding a treat under one of a group of cups and then moving them around is a canine take on the old shell game. You can increase the number of cups as your dog gets better at finding the treat.
Make scent trails: Put a scent your dog likes on a ball (a small amount of chicken fat, peanut butter, or even essential oils) and play with it. Then begin hiding the ball and putting the scent down in a trail (you can use small pieces of paper) leading to the toy. Then try removing the trail and have your dog find the ball on his own.