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Nose work – safe – fun for IVDD dogs

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Nose work and other fun things

Take advantage of your dog’s desire to sniff— one of the main ways a dog communicates. Nose work – safe – fun for IVDD dogs. There are lots of easy ways to encourage and provide plenty of sniffing opportunities right at a home.

Depending on breed, dogs' noses are 100 million times more sensitive than a human's. Working dogs can spend the day sniffing, following tracks, hunting, rescuing, herding sheep or cattle.

Most pets spend a good deal of time indoors, going out to potty or a walk with their owner with limited opportunity to sniff. To a dog, sniffing is like a human reading Facebook or a newspaper. Sniffing is how the dog communicates and learns what’s happening in his world.

The saying;“A tired dog is a good dog” holds true when they get a healthy balance of physical and mental stimulation and FUN! Checkout the three categories of fun:

1) Nose Work at home


Dining alfresco and nose work

Nose work is a safe and fun for IVDD dogs. Serve your dog’s dinner outside on the lawn. Why? Because dogs need opportunities to do what is natural for them. Hunting relies on nose work, problem solving and body agility and it is just plain fun!

Ahead of time, hide a few pieces of kibble behind the foot of a chair, in the crevice of a rock or under a box. Once your dogs are in the yard, the balance of their normally allotted dinner will be thrown a couple of pieces at a time.

The dogs will be very focused using their noses to find kibble hidden down in the blades of grass. They’ll run to and fro as you command “look” and point to the next direction kibble will be thrown in. Thrown kibble splashes nicely in a shallow 14” pot saucer or garbage can lid filled with water. You can see how your dog solves the problem of reaching the food.

Dining alfresco is an activity to exercise the brain  and body. This is also an opportunity to teach them to give good eye contact and watch for your hand signals.

On top of the lessons, it is just so much plain fun, that you’ll be sorry to see their allotment of dinner disappear. Oh, yes, if they haven’t discovered the pieces you’ve hidden before they came outside, tell them “look” and point to the rock, box, chair leg.

Greeting with nose work.

Sniffing is, of course, an important element in dog greetings.This kind of nose work is something your dog naturally does to communicate with others. All kinds of personal information about you is available as you get down to his level to breathe face to face with some eye contact with your dog. Your dog will learn what you last ate, the chemical smell of your mood and if you are stressed. That’s right, you can’t lie to your dog!

Next is sniffing the ears, side of the neck and shoulders. Dogs roll in stuff that is of interest to keep that memory. What’s on your neck? Your smell tells what you’ve been up to. If you don’t want to sniff your dog’s neck, use your hand to touch his neck.

The last step in greeting is the butt sniff. Your dog will be just as happy with a quick rub of his bum with your hand! ~Source: Eliasen Mogens. The Peeing Post. Oct. 9, 2008.
Simple at-home ideas for fun nose work
  • Hide and seek games involving nose work can be played inside. Hide yourself behind a door and call your dog to find you, hide kibble pieces on a bottom shelf, under edge of rug.
  • NOSE work is really fun and safe activity for IVDD dogs: Muffin tin game for an appetizer to dinner.   Watch Muffin tin sniffing puzzle

2) Not for the faint of heart!

Canine Biathlon: A longhair dachshund, a 57 year old woman, 4.1 miles. Challenge accepted!
By Sharon McDonald

The Biathlon is open to all types of handler-canine teams.

Teams can include civilian pets, search and rescue teams, military working dogs, or police dog teams. Open to all challengers and thrill seekers of all ages and experience levels.

Last year, a group of my friends participated and, while I thought about it, my thoughts were more like “No frickin’ way! My body is too broken already.” They did it, and they survived. They brought back photos and video of dirty dogs and white-tooth smiles beaming through dirt-crusted faces.

The beginning was exhilarating, the end exhausting.

I stood at the start line with my  dachshund,  Racyer, coming unglued with excitement. How he knew was beyond me — he just knew. We were told go, and off he went to the end of the leash, pulling me up and over the first obstacle, a series of three large sand dunes.

Arms wrapped around each other, my 70-year-old teammate, Paula, and I crossed the finish line together, proud and committed to besting our times for next year.

I was so incredibly proud of my friends, but even more, I was beyond proud of my  dachsund partner, Raycer. He gave his all and he had a blast! We both slept well that evening!

If you think this may be something you and your dog are interested in, check out the  The US Canine Biathlon® at or on Facebook at

3) Other fun activities

Summer saucer fun.  Bobbing for kibble is a back friendly fun activity! A planter saucer makes a wonderful way to entertain. Take a part of your dog’s daily food portion for this activity so as not to add extra calories. Toss a few kibbles at a time and get your camera ready… it is fun for you and your dog!

  1. Build up to daily 30 minute walks, good exercise to strengthen core and back muscles
  2. Fetching a gently rolled tennis ball along the ground is good exercise. Avoid dog pouncing or stopping suddenly.
  3. Obedience training for mind stimulation, teach a new word or command.
  4. Swimming or walking on a sandy beach is good exercise.  And best of all are the many opportunities for nose work – a safe way to exercise –  and fun for IVDD dogs.  Watch Madeline at the beach
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