Welcome to Day 76 of #100daysofenrichment and thank you for joining us on this journey!
Although our challenges are directed mainly at dogs, we want all species to enjoy and benefit from #100daysofenrichment so, please join in, adjust and adapt to help your pet or companion live a more enriched life.
Saturdays during #100daysofenrichment are all about emphasising the dog in all our dogs; all about sniffing and doing dog things.
Last summer, in one of the workshops run for AniEd trainers, we discussed Scent & Sniffing. For this first time, I tried out something that I had been putting together in my head for quite a while…a sniffari!
I would love to say that I originated the term, but I think the credit goes to dog trainer Kristi Benson. And I would also love to claim that I came up with this idea, but I saw some similar version of this on an Australian company’s page: Dog Solutions.
Here’s their fantastic Mobile Snuffle Park:
AniEd’s version of this is possibly a little different and I am hoping to develop it more and more.
What is a SNIFFARI?
Sniffari is an olfactory adventure for your dog. It can be as elaborate or as basic, as large or small, and as complex or simple as you like. You are limited only by your imagination, and how far you want to take this.
We went all-out-elaborate for our workshop. Attendees from around the country brought lots of bits and pieces to build the Sniffari. AniEd is already filled with “rubbish” that we use for puzzling and enrichment, so we contributed lots too.
Here’s a quick tour of the more elaborate set-up:
Here’s a less elaborate set up from a PlayDates session:
Our Sniffari is not just an olfactory journey, but a multi-sensory one. The dogs are drawn in and around many substrates, obstacles, sights AND smells. Many layers of cognition are engaged, meaning that so much brain power is involved.
A full enriching experience!
Setting up your SNIFFARI!
You can see the sorts of bits and pieces we have used, everything from fur to furniture!
You can set up your sniffari indoors or outdoors.
Outdoor sniffaris provide more space and extra challenge in the way air and the breeze moves through the obstacles.
When holding sniffaris outside, I tend not to include as much local vegetation etc. as it’s presumed the dog has olfactory information about this already. But when held indoors, I have tried to add vegetation of different types and from different locations as much as possible.
Adding plants, like this lavender, to snufflemats in a box, to contain the odour, proved a big hit on our Sniffaris.
It features a lot in this Sniffari with Ned and Dexter showing great interest in it:
In our Sniffaris we have used tents, chairs and tables to add different dimensions. We used a wooden frame, pool noodles, streamers, mats of different substrates, tubs of water, platforms and hula-hoops to add in physical and tactile challenge. We used seaweed, plants, old shoes, fur, feathers, toys, boxes, old food and cosmetic containers, vegetation, twigs and branches, sweeping brush, different containers, and lots of bits and pieces to add real olfactory interest.
We have also presented the interesting odours in different ways; up high, down low, under or behind other obstacles, hanging up, poking out, in tubs and boxes to contain and concentrate odour and most importantly, laid out with plenty of space in between each obstacle.
This space allows the dog to choose how they move in and around the course, and also to allow for lots of airflow to move.
Make sure the item/s aren’t dangerous and are safe to be sniffed, that they don’t contain or have never contained substances toxic to dogs, and make sure they’re appropriate for your dog. For example, it’s not a good idea to bring back vegetation that strange dogs may have peed on to unvaccinated puppies.
Really, there should be no food used in this Sniffari. It changes the dog’s approach to this challenge. By using novel and interesting things and presenting them in new ways, most dogs will be encouraged to explore if given time. As usual on Sniffing Saturdays, us humans are just hanging out letting our dogs do what they do best.
Group sniffaris aren’t always going to work. After this cooperative group had each had an individual chance to explore, under very close supervision they got to sniffari as a group:
You can see more about our workshop sniffari and how the dogs benefited here, and also see how different dogs got on with AniEd sniffaris: Posie on Sniffari, Busy on Sniffari, Arlo & Brady on Sniffari.
Take your pet on Sniffari!
Now it’s your turn. Show us what you and your pets, of any species, can do with these challenges!
Post to your social media accounts, using the #100daysofenrichment so that we can find you and join our Facebook group to share your experiences, ideas and fun!
You can comment right here too 🙂
We look forward to hearing from you and your pets – have fun & brain games!