I just signed Gretel up for a 6-week nosework class. I’ve been wanting to try it with her for a long time. We did sort of try it once at the Portland Pet Expo last year. They needed some dogs to help demonstrate nosework on the stage and I volunteered Gretel. Now she will get to try it legitimately.
She is so food motivated and has a good nose. However, I think this will honestly be a challenge for her.
I am no dog psychologist but I was to put my “science-y” hat on I would guess that most domesticated dogs are not used to working, or looking, for their food. The food magically appears in their bowl every day and treats are put right in their mouths by our hand.
I came to the conclusion that, although Gretel has a good nose, she gets confused when she has to look for treats. I’ve started tossing a handful in the dining room for Chester and Gretel to to “scavenge”. Some of the treats roll under the edges of things on the ground. Sometimes she passes a treat up the first time if she can’t immediately see it or takes a while to make it over to where it is.
Nosework, or any “working” sport, is supposed to help your dog gain confidence. Confidence is something I have tried to instill in Gretel since we adopted her. She is such a fearful girl. She has made progress thanks to things like hiking and the little bit of agility and training we’ve done. I feel like she has been backsliding a little though since I’ve been working from home.
Gretel is really attached to me and that obsession has gotten stronger now that she see’s me all day on most days. She has barked at S a couple of times in the last month when she was by me and he came into the room. At this point we aren’t sure it wasn’t because it was dark in the room and he came in quickly but she has never done that before (and I feel like we’ve had plenty of situations like that in the past). I am hoping that nosework will teach her to be a little bit more independent and give her a sense of autonomy.
The first class in the series is actually today but I have to skip tonight. I’ll have some homework to work on with her before class next week.
I have to collect some boxes and practice with treats in the open boxes like to see in this video (it’s got some loud music so you might want to turn the volume down).
We’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
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