When practicing at home, always keep it fun and simple. Save the challenging stuff for a...
When practicing at home, always keep it fun and simple. Save the challenging stuff for a workshop or class, where you and your dog will be under the supervision and guidance of a skilled K9 Nose Work instructor (CNWI).
- Fun hides for your dog are those that are accessible. Self-rewarding is very powerful for the dog. If you're placing hides in boxes, make sure the dog can reach the boxes, and that he has a way in to self-reward.
- Have a friend help by placing hides. If you're using food or a toy, the friend can move the reward around cleverly, in and out of boxes, to keep the dog guessing. If you dog is on odor, the friend can still help, but make sure he/she understands the importance of handling odor carefully, and setting up hides that are well within the dog's abilities.
- Take a break! At a workshop or class, dogs get valuable "down time" between turns to recover and process what they've learned. Dogs new to the activity of K9 Nose Work should spend no more than a minute or two working out a single hide, and no more than ten or fifteen minutes of practice at a time without the guidance of an instructor.
- Think new objects. A pair of baby galoshes, an oscillating fan, a toilet paper roll. Use simple searches to introduce your dog to as many new objects as possible.
Feel like a change of scenery? Try making use of all the tips above at a friend's house, or at the park. New environments can be challenging, so be prepared to give your dog a super easy recovery hide. Above all, keep it fun for you and your dog!