"SNIFF / FETCH" Game

Humans cannot measure up to the caliber of the sense of smell a dog possesses. A dog trained to track down an odor will bring you tremendous satisfaction, and could render you a valuable service.

food is a good departure point to begin the exercise of sniffing and fetching. Take a biscuit with a strong odor, and place your dog in a place where he cannot see you. Tell the dog to “STAY”. Then, hide the biscuit in a place that is easily accessible, (behind a door, for example) so as to encourage the dog to go looking for it. Have a similar biscuit in your pocket. Give him the command “SNIFF / FETCH BISCUIT”, as you pass the biscuit in your hand under his nose, hand closed, so that the dog cannot take it. When the dog has sniffed the biscuit by moving his nose, open the door, and tell him” FETCH BISCUIT!”. The dog will probably not be sure of exactly what he is supposed to fetch, but it won’t be long that he’ll find it, and when he does, congratulate him (SR “SOUND + GOOD!”) and reward him. Play the game again, this time placing the biscuit in a more difficult place to find. Make it harder and harder to reach, more and more difficult to find. Try burying it on your property, and your dog will amaze you with his refined sense of smell.

Stop playing while the enthusiasm level is still high. If, during the game, you notice that the energy level is going down, repeat the “FETCH BISCUIT” command many times with an enthusiastic tone. Don’t let the dog see where you are hiding the object, and congratulate him with the SR “SOUND + GOOD!” when he finds it. This exercise is very practical when you have something to do that requires the dog to be kept busy, such as making supper, working in the garden, etc. Hide a biscuit on the property, and go about your business.

When the dog reaches such a level in the use of his sense of smell, you can now challenge he dog by hiding a biscuit in a place where the dog cannot reach it. The dog will attempt scratching and nibbling at the place where the biscuit is; congratulate the dog for having found the biscuit. Give him the command “SIT”, and then reward him for having found it by giving it to him. You must condition the dog to “SIT” every time he finds an object.

The dog can now fetch all sorts of objects with different odors. By using the technique describe above, you can make the dog sniff something which belongs to someone, and have the dog identify the person to whom the object belongs. Just tell the dog “SNIFF!” while you hold an object for him to sniff, then say “FETCH!” once you have hidden it. Each time the dog finds the object, congratulate (SR “SOUND + GOOD!”) and reward him. With diligent practice, you can transform your dog into a useful member of the community. His keen sense of smell can be put to good use in many different fields of endeavor such as localizing lost persons, working with the police in finding drugs, or even saving the life of a citizen.

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