April 27, 2022 4 min read

Dogs use their noses every day but using them for specific jobs or games can not only be mentally stimulating for them, but it could also save you or someone else’s life. We’re exploring 5 benefits of teaching your dog scent work.


1. Scent work is a great form of physical, sensory, and occupational enrichment.

Scent work offers many forms of enrichmentfor your dog. Not only does it exercise your dog’s muscles, but also their nose and brain! Scent work has been shown to promote logical thinking skills as well as helping dogs stay active by giving them a fun job to do. The best part is? You don’t have to be outside to give your dog enriching scent work activities. Even on a rainy day, you can still create fun games and tasks for your dog to use their nose, legs, and brain.


2. Teaching your dog scent work can help fulfill their natural instincts.

Scent work is an activity that taps into a dog's innate abilities. It doesn't matter if your pup prefers to lay around on the couch — they still have the same natural instincts as their ancestors, and scent work can help them fulfill this! Not only that, but you'll be helping to keep your dog physically active and mentally engaged. While dogs are the most widely known domesticated animal on the planet, they have retained the natural instincts of their ancestors—wild wolves who hunted and tracked prey. Domesticated dogs carry these traits in their DNA; he or she is still very much a hunter at heart!


3. Scent work is a great way to bond with your dog by working together.

At the heart of any activity or training you do with your dog is the relationship between you and them. That’s why we think that doing a fun activity like scent work together is a great way to continue to build that bond and trust with your pup. Scent work is different from other forms of obedience training or agility in that it’s not just about following commands or routines, but instead working together on a common goal.

When you play games with your dog, giving them the opportunity to use their nose as often as possible makes it more fun. One game you can play is called “hide ‘n’ seek.” If you have multiple dogs, you can play this game by having one dog sit and stay in another room while someone hides treats around the house (make sure they are not too difficult to find at first). Then release your dog from their stay position so they can search for treats! This game involves teamwork because both of you are working together to hide or find treats and you let each other know when you succeed with happy pets and barks! You can even make it more fun and challenging by placing the treats inside of a puzzle toy.

When looking at scent work as a game, you can see how it can help build your relationship with your dog, making other forms of sports and training easier as well.


4. Any age or breed of dog can learn scent work!

One of the best things about scent work is the fact that any dog can learn it! It doesn’t matter what breed, age, or size you have. As long as your dog is able to use their nose, they’ll be able to learn scent work.

Scent work can be taught at home or with a certified trainer. Whether your dog simply plays scent work games or has a job to detect diseases or allergies, they will be enjoying their favorite activity: sniffing!


5. Scent work can been used to detect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, detect various forms of cancer, allergens, and heart rate.

In addition to their ability to sniff out drugs and explosives, dogs are being trained as medical alert dogs. Some dogs can even detect low or high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Dogs who pick up on the scent of blood sugar levels can help prevent serious health issues from happening.

Blood sugar isn’t the only thing a dog’s nose can sniff out. Studies show that dogs have even been able to detect various forms of cancer in humans by pointing with their nose and alerting to the location the cancer is present on a person. Finding allergen-free foods is also easy for any pup’s nose that’s been trained on how to identify allergens by scent. Allergy-detecting and medical alert service dogs are becoming more common than ever today.


Whether it's just for fun or to help keep you safe and healthy, scent work has many benefits for both you and your dog. Start practicing scent work with your pup at home or with a certified trainer and see how they enjoy it!

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