This week's Day Training Extra Credit: You probably know that your dog has an impressive sense of smell, but did you know you can leverage that special ability to help your dog develop and maintain behavioral wellness? Dogs soothe themselves by engaging in four main species-appropriate behaviors: chewing, licking, shredding, and sniffing. Our toys and activities often focus on chewing, but scientists have found that helping dogs engage in sniffing behavior can actually increase dogs' optimism! This week, use scent to enrich your dog's life by going on a sniffari, playing scent games, or spraying a toy or towel with diluted coconut, vanilla, ginger or valerian scents (never apply scent directly to a dog.) If you find that your dog thrives on scent enrichment, ask your trainer for more information about the sport of nosework, in which dogs find hidden containers with essential oils. It's one of the most accessible dog sports, where dogs with physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, and reactivity can still play happily and safely!
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