Four Fun Ways To Treat Your Dog
There’s no denying that our pets loooove treats. Even when we’re eating snacks of our own, that aren’t made for dogs, our pooches often still want a little taste. That’s because a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than a human’s, so they can sniff out all those tasty delicacies.
Dog trainers across the globe recommend using treats as positive reinforcement during training, as a way to tell your dog “good job” in a language they can understand. Our dogs want to please us and they eventually learn to associate doing good things with receiving yummy treats.
We love to give our dogs treats because it strengthens our bond with them and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The right treat can also motivate dogs and lead to quicker training. Although you should use treats as a reward rather than using them as a doggy all-you-can-eat buffet, you don’t have to be a doggy drill sergeant about it. Here are four fun ways to treat your pet, using their sense of smell.
Hide and seek
Our dogs excellent sense of smell can be used to play hide and seek with your pup. Just pick up some really meaty, extra smelly treats like Minnows or Savor’n Salmon, and then park your pooch in the next room. If your dog isn’t very good at the “stay” command, you may need to have a helper hold your dog while you hide the treats. Try some easy places at first, like on top of a rug or next to a shoe. Then give your dog a command, such as “find” or “seek,” and release them to seek out the tasty treats using their nose.
Once your dog has got the hang of this delightful game, you can make it a little more difficult by hiding the treats in hard to find places, like under a rug, inside a shoe or behind a piece of furniture. You can also move the game to a safe outdoor space where your pooch will have to sniff through the grass to find the treat. The challenge of having to work to find a snack, combined with the reward of a delicious all meat treat, will increase your pooch’s excitement and help burn off some energy.
Do you remember the “pick a hand” magic trick you used to play as a kid? Well you can also play that game with your pooch, except your dog has a secret trick up their paw...their awesome sense of smell! Simply take a tasty Beefy Bites treat and, as your dog is watching, lay it flat in your palm. Leave your other palm empty. Close both of your palms and show your closed fists to your dog. As soon as your dog makes any move to acknowledge the hand with the treat, whether it’s a nudge, a bark or a sniff, open that hand and give them the treat.
Eventually your pup will be so good at playing the guessing game that you won’t even have to show your pup what hand the treat is in, they will be able to sniff it out. You can switch the treat back and forth in your hands a few times, put the treat in your hand behind your back where your dog can’t see what hand it’s in, and make it challenging so your dog has to sniff to pick which hand has the treat.
Have you ever wondered how bomb sniffing dogs, search and rescue dogs, bed bug sniffing dogs and other working dogs are trained? Now is your chance to learn, and all you need is some Nature’s Advantage treats and some cardboard boxes to use for nose work training...and treating! The type of treats you use for nose work will depend on your dog’s taste preferences, but you want to have two different treats, one being a high value treat that they love, like Really Rabbit treats, and the other being a treat that they think is just ok. The high value treat you will use as a reward, and the other treat will be used for your pooch to sniff out.
Set the boxes around the room and place the lesser value treats in a few of them. With your dog on a leash, walk around the boxes. As soon as your dog expresses excitement or interest in one of the boxes that has a treat in it, praise your dog with a command such as “yes!” and give your dog one of the high value treats as a reward. If your dog expresses interest in one of the boxes that doesn’t have a treat in it, completely ignore them and wait until they are finished before moving on to another box. Don’t let your pup eat the treats while they are inside the box, because you are training your dog to “alert” to what’s in the box, rather than snack on it. In nose work training, the treats inside the boxes would eventually be replaced with the scent of what the dog is being trained to find, such as explosives, scented clothing, or bed bugs. Bet you never guessed you could train your dog to hunt out scents with the help of some tasty treats!
Find the treat
For a really easy treat sniffing game, grab a blanket or towel and use it to cover up a few of your pup’s favorite treats, like some Chick’n Hearts and Tender Turkey treats. Just make sure you let your pup sniff the treats first so they know what they’re looking for. Then let them go to town trying to figure out how to move the blanket or towel to get to the treats.
Once your dog gets really good at finding treats under a blanket, you can make it more challenging by folding the blanket different ways or twisting the treats up in it so your dog has to really work to get to the treats.
No matter how you decide to treat your dog, always remember to do it with love. And since your dog loves treats, using them to show your love for your dog is a no brainer! Just make sure to pick up an all-natural, grain free and certified gluten free treat like Nature’s Advantage. Your dog will be proud you did, and you’ll be proud to treat your smart pooch with real meat treats that will have them eager to learn with every taste.
You can read about the benefits of natural, grain and gluten free food and treats for your best pal in our blog post here. Also, be sure to follow Nature’s Advantage on Facebook and Pinterest, and head to the website to pick up some treats for your own pooch. You might even get a National Training Month training pack with a free treat pouch if you’re one of the lucky first 100 purchases, so don’t delay!