Mind Games for Dogs: Shell Scent Game Dog Indicates correct container where scent is


Mind Games for Dogs: Shell Scent Game The first step to teaching this is to get a paw touch on cue. Jessie already knows the ‘sniff’ cue too. Next, introduce a container with a couple treats inside. Choose a heavy unbreakable container rather than a light plastic one. This is why. Use three similar plastic lids and cut holes or slits to make it easy for your dog to smell what is inside. Tape them on. Transfer the paw behavior to the lid. It may help to point to the lid or hold it in your hands. Now start moving your hands away to see if your dog can still target the lid. Fade the verbal cue too. Add a second empty container and cue ‘sniff’ and ‘paw’. This encourages her to check with her nose before indicating with her paw. Drop the ‘sniff’ cue when your dog is consistently sniffing before paw indicating. Add a third container, also empty. Throw the treats a short distance away to give you time to move the containers around. Tape up the holes to make them harder to smell. Eventually, you can replace the lids with ones with no holes. Now you can add a cue such as ‘show me’ or ‘find’. Because the next part of the game is new to Jessie, I use the clicker. to clearly communicate what behavior I am looking for. Replace the treats with a new scent and go back to one container. I chose celery salt as this is something she is not likely to come across outdoors. Jessie gets clicked and treated for just sniffing the new smell at first (x10). then I wait a few seconds to see if she will offer a paw touch as well. Add a second container as before. Add one more container and Voila! the scent game! At each stage you may need to repeat the behavior ten to twenty times or more, or you may need to break down the behaviors to simpler steps. This game is a great way toteach your dog how to indicate a scent. Hide the container and ask your dog to find it, indicating the hidden object with a paw.

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