Jan 7

New Year Resolutions

When I was growing up I used to make New Year's resolutions they were normal things like eating healthier, going on a diet, and working harder. I would never stick to them for long so I ended up not making them. This year I decided to make some but they are about doing more things to enable my dog to use their natural instincts. When I started training I always tried different things with my dog, seeing what they preferred to do, what they enjoyed doing and this isn’t always easy as sometimes we enjoy something but do our dogs join us because we make them? Or because they enjoy them.

So what are my New Year's resolutions?
My dog loves sniffing and I can tell she does, she naturally sniffs. We have always done Scentwork and enrichment activities that enable the use of her nose. We will be continuing this but also adding tracking. Tracking is where the dog uses their nose to follow ground disturbances to find an article at the end of the track. I will also be adding more Scentwork and tracking to my training classes to help others enjoy the benefits of nose work.
What is Scentwork and tracking I hear you ask?
Scentwork is a sport and training activity that is based on detection style work. It teaches your dog to indicate and pinpoint a scent that they have been trained to find. I came across it by accident many years ago as I wanted to do something fun with my dogs and to enrich their lives as well as meet their breed needs.
What I love about Scentwork is that it can be done anywhere and can be a short session or more serious where you can work towards winning trials. Due to how much fun and how I saw my dogs benefit from Scentwork I now teach people how to do Scentwork in various ways, in class, 1-1 sessions.

So why is it good for our dogs?  
It’s great mental stimulation Most people feel that they have to physically exercise their dogs a lot to make them tired and sleep well. This just builds an athlete and your dog will need more and more physical exercise. What if I told you that Scentwork tires your dog more than physical exercise? Scentwork is great mental stimulation for your dog. They have to think as they sniff to find the odour and search a variety of places or follow a track to the article. You will find that your dog will be more tired when participating in mental stimulation activities.  
Increase your dog's focus.

To find the scent/article your dog has to concentrate on the smells and eliminate and identify the odour he is searching for. This will make him display focus as he now has the job of finding the odour. I have found that doing Scentwork with reactive dogs benefits them as they have to focus. It also builds confidence in your dog.

Angela Rowland - Ravendale Training & Behaviour
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