Scentwork is a growing area, and more and more dog owners are investigating this training for their dogs. Today I'm going to cover seven reasons why you might want to try scentwork with your dog.
1 - Scentwork uses more of the dog's brain than any other activity.
The part of a dog's brain that analyses and processes scent is 40% greater than ours. Whilst we primarily rely on our sight, dogs see the world through their noses.
2 - Training is a great way to build a stronger bond with your dog
Any training that you do with your dog is strengthening your relationship. Incorporating scentwork in to your day will help your dog to see you as the bringer of all things great, allowing them to follow their natural sniffing desires.
3 - It's a great activity to take on the road
At any stage in your scentwork training you can take the training on the road, which will make your walks more interesting for you both. See the point above about building a stronger bond - bringing some sniffing activities on your walks will result in your dog paying more attention to you.
4 - Any dog can do it
Scentwork isn't only for spaniels! Any and all breeds can take part, and you would be surprised at the breeds that do well including sighthounds, dachshunds, rottweilers and many more. It's also ideal for dogs that are on restricted activity, as you can match the training to their current capabilities.
5 - Scentwork tires dogs out more than physical activity
So many people think that the only way to tire a dog out is to walk them for longer, or throw a ball for them for an hour (please don't!). What will actually happen is that you'll end up with a very fit adrenaline junkie. They may well find it even harder to settle. As I touched on above, using their nose means they're using more of their brain. This will tire them more effectively than adding in more exercise. I may not walk my dog every day, but I will always do some sort of training.
6 - It's fun!
Training scentwork with your dog will change the way that you look at the world. You'll constantly be spotting places that would be great for hides, as well as finding objects everywhere that you would love your dog to search!
7 - It's easy
You can do as much or as little as you like with scentwork training, from simple food searches all the way to competing. Even if you do train your dog to the level that they can compete, you can always revisit the basics (in fact, you should revisit basics regularly in all training). The training can all be done at home, and the only real limitation is your imagination.
The why and how of scentwork training are all covered in my book, Scentwork: Step by Step