Well folks, here we go, another 6 weeks of winter according to our little ground hog friend. Your canine pal has been patient and behaved. They havn’t chewed up your furniture, even though you havn’t taken them for a walk in forever because of the snow and cold. But, they are close to their breaking point. They can’t stand it anymore, something needs to be done before they snap and chew up every couch cushion in your living room.
Welcome to the answer. . . . . are you read? . . . Nosework!!!! Yep, get your dog to use his sniffer. Amazingly if a dog has to think it gets them just as tired out as if they ran a few miles. This fun activity can be done right in your own living room. All you need to get started is some empty boxes and a bunch of treats.
The sport was developed in southern California by some folks who wanted something to do in those winter months when not much else is going on. Nosework it a great activity that can be done in a confined space, gets your dog to use his nose and his brain, exhausting them completely for the rest of the day. And all it took was a little time and some fun with your pal.
There are of course competitions you can do with your pal for nosework if you feel your up to it, but for now lets just stick with something to keep him tired. Start with about 10 to 12 empty boxes. You can rescue these from the recycle bin, or head over to your local Post Office to get some of the small ‘if it fits, it ship’s’ boxes. This way you can use them over again to send your aunt a birthday present without heading out to the Post Office.
Start with all the boxes just empty around the floor. Pick one box and put a treat in it. Start with your dog watching and tell him to ‘find it’ or any other command you’d like to make it. Let him go and get the treat, telling him good boy, and of course another treat for doing what you wanted him to do. Now here’s the important thing about this kind of fun. When the boxes are out, it’s no obedience time. This means you don’t tell them to stay, come, sit, down, or any other command. Just let them find the treat.
Eventually, your K-9 friend will understand that ‘find it’ means to go get the treat from the box and you can start hiding the treat when he’s not watching you. Put him in the bedroom while you hide it so he can’t see. Once he finds it, reward him and tell him good boy.
You can start to make it harder once he’s really gotten the hang of it and hide it on top of a box, or in a box inside a box, maybe near a box instead of in the box. Maybe on the chair instead of in the box. Make it harder to find so he has to think, but not so hard that he loses interest in the game and goes off to a corner and sulk.
The end result should be a happy, tired puppy who got some treats, some fun, and a great place to take a nap since he didn’t take all the stuffing out.
If you’d like to find out more about nosework you can visit these website:
http://www.funnosework.com/ and http://www.nacsw.net/