Tag Archives: dog training

Training Game 1.1

The Dog’s Nose Knows – sniffing games for dogs


Did you know that domestic dogs have evolved from scavenging animals? That probably explains some of your dog’s behaviour!

Instead of your dog getting his scavenging-jollies by counter surfing and stealing, let’s give them an acceptable outlet for this behaviour with our scavenger-hunting games.

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Each game will take you 30 seconds – 3 minutes to set up. Your dog does all the work!
Try two or three of these games today and tomorrow.

Family Participation:
Fun for all the family – children will love to scatter food (it’s just like making a mess that someone else cleans up!), hide food and set up sniffing courses.
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone while he works on his puzzle.

Top Tip for Today’s Games: 

Add a cue to these games so that you can ask your dog to search. Say “go find it” just before releasing your dog to search.

Scatter Feeding

The easiest way to feed your dog, while still providing them with a challenge, is to have them sniff out every piece of food.

Take your dog’s food and instead of feeding them from the bowl toss their food on the ground.

Beginner Level ideas:

  • scatter your dog’s food on hard flooring
  • scatter your dog’s food while he’s watching

Advanced Level ideas: 

  • scatter your dog’s food in grass
  • scatter your dog’s food when they are in another room, then release them to sniff out each piece


Dinner Trails & Scavenger Hunts

A slightly more formal version of scatter feeding involves setting up specific hiding places for your dog’s food.

Beginner Level ideas: 

  • hide food in plain sight or in easy to spot places
  • set up a dinner-trail in the house, garden or on your walking route – this is a great game for puppies!
    Drop a piece of your dog’s dinner every couple of steps you take. Go back and get your dog and lead them (make sure to let them find each piece though!) along the trail so that they can find each piece as they follow you.

Advanced Level ideas:

  • hide stuffed or lined Kong toys (piles of kibble or frozen wet food if you don’t have Kong toys) in increasingly tricky places

Check out our video guide to simple Kong stuffing:


Sniffing Course

You and your dog are probably hooked on scent games by now – YAY!

How about setting up a sniffing-games course? Use various household items such as boxes, overturned chairs, cones, plant pots or dog beds.

Set up each course while your dog is in another room and then release them to search.

Beginner Level ideas:

  • hide food in one spot in each course and make sure that there is nothing in front of it or over it that may block the scent reaching your dog

Advanced Level ideas:

  • have a number of hides in each course
  • make the courses trickier as your dog improves by placing hides behind and under parts of your course

Sniffing games are perfect for rainy days or for dogs on limited activity!


Well done!

That’s Day 1 done – introduce these games today and tomorrow and we will have new games for you and your dog on Wednesday.

Now, don’t forget to share how you are getting on – we would love to see video and pics of your dogs sniffing out their dinner and see how you have come up with ways to challenge your dog’s nose!

Go on, show off….

Before we start with our first game…

Wohoo! Let’s start preparing for the start of our plans on Monday – here’s your first task:

Make a Training Mix

Rather than introduce lots and lots of treats for our training program, we will use our dogs’ regular, everyday food in our games.
But, no more getting their food for free – this program will encourage your dog to work for each piece!


No matter what you feed your dog you will be able to use this food, rather than in a food bowl, for many of our games over the entire program.

Here’s our video showing you how to use your dog’s regular food for training games: 

Dry food e.g. kibble:

  • measure out your dog’s daily rations and place in a lunchbox or bag
    (remove about 5-10% if you go with the higher-cal option below)

Option 1 (low-cal)

  • add a chunk of your dog’s favourite such as tripe (dried or frozen), chicken, ham, hotdog or cheese
    (your dog won’t get to eat this treat)

Option 2 (higher-cal)

  • add a little of your dog’s favourite treats, chopped up small (third fingernail size)
  • seal the bag or lunchbox and mix the contents
  • leave in the fridge overnight
  • next day, everything will smell yummier!

Wet food e.g. raw, tinned:

  • measure out your dog’s meal as normal into a container


  • if you feed whole organs, cut muscle meat into small pieces or mince the meat


  • stuff food into a Kong toy or similar – this can be hidden for sniffing games or offered to the dog to lick a bit as a reward during training games


  • administer wet food on a wooden spoon as a training reward


  • freeze spoonfuls of wet food in an icecube tray – little frozen nuggets of wet food are great for sniffing games and energising games

If you are worried about handling wet or raw food during training exercises, keep a pair of surgical gloves with your training-mix so that you are always ready to reward desired behaviour.

What’s this program all about?

You’ve signed up and are getting ready, but what’s this training program really about?


Our Train Your Dog Month 2016 program is all about foundation skills – these are the ones that you will build your continued training upon.

So often we go straight into the sexy stuff without paying attention to the training that supports our dog’s life long learning – that can be why our training sometimes crumbles and collapses.

Spending a little time (remember, just ten minutes each day) putting these basics in place provides you and your dog the perfect foundation on which to build.

Reality Check

As important as these exercises and having the right foundation are, it isn’t a magic-wand!

Just signing up for our program will not ‘fix’ any behaviour problems you might experience with your dog. But, the exercises we will introduce will help work on some of the root causes to training and behaviour issues from pulling on lead to aggression.

The plan

Each week is themed and we will post three-to-five different exercises for you to work on during that week.

Every couple of days or so, we will post a new exercise with options to suit you at various stages of training. We will provide video and printer friendly versions too so that everyone can participate.

Remember, just ten minutes a day but if you want to do more that’s OK too!

Be ready for your first plan on Monday and Happy 2016!