Dog Nose Work: Enriching Your Dog’s Life

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If you’re wondering why dog nose work is so important, let me share how incredible your dog’s nose is. Their sense of smell is out of this world, well out of our world. They have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in comparison to our measly 6 million.  Oh my gosh, imagine how good fresh bread would smell to them!

Now before you get jealous, we can use this information to enrich their lives with dog nose work. Incorporating your dog’s wonderful nose in daily life is easy as pie…. oh my gosh pie, that would smell AMAZING!!!

I’m going to share with you some simple ways to add enrichment to your dog’s day, with the use of their nose and their wonderful sense of smell.

By creating ways to allow your dog to use their super human nose you will not only enrich their world, but your connection to them will grow, as you will be more in tune with their behaviour and the WHY behind what they do.


Smell adventures are super easy, because you are probably already doing it. When you walk your dog, let them stop and smell the roses, or rock, or tree, or poop. Dogs love to smell because for them it is like a notice board, all of the animals who have passed before are leaving notes about a couch on sale or FREE PUPPIES… ok, we don’t know what they are saying, but they are saying something, and it is SUPER interesting to our dogs.

So, let them smell and even better let them lead the way! Which takes us to our number two.

Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails


Let your dog choose the route. Let them take you on a new adventure, by allowing them to follow their nose. This is wonderful for you and your dog, I have stumbled upon countless beautiful scenes in the place I grew up because of my dog Carla. She has helped me discover hidden waterfalls, swimming holes and short cuts I could have used as a kid!

Explore your surroundings, it’s kind of cool, you could be following in someone else’s footsteps using your dog’s keen sense of smell.


This one is easier for the solo dog but can be done under supervision with multiple. Throw away your food bowl and scatter your dog’s breakfast, lunch or dinner on the ground. It’s as easy as that.

This is great for when you are off to work, it allows your dog to search for their food throughout the day which takes way longer than eating it from a bowl. This means they are entertained for part of the day, so two birds as they say.


Incorporating nose work into your training sessions is super easy and fun.

  • Start with one box, have your dog sitting on their mat.
  • Pop a treat in the box and say “find it” (or whichever cue you would like to use) and wait for your dog to find the treat.
  • Continue this a few times until they understand, then add another box.
  • Repeat the steps until you have a few or more boxes.
  • Pretend to put a treat in each of the boxes so it fools them a little.

This is the beginning of learning scent work, so more games can blossom from here.


Just like when you were a kid doing hunts with minties, this one provides enrichment for you and your dog. Hide treats around your garden, yard, or house, then let your dogs free using your cue. Mine is “find it”. They are now free to search using their super-human scent.

Start off simple with treats “hidden” fairly out in the open and as they get the hang of it, you can start to hide them in things, behind things and under things.

This is great to do on a rainy day when you are all stuck inside.

Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails

Frankie on a hide and seek just after I wrote this blog.
(You can see the treat on the brick….. so close)

Isn’t it cool!

Now you know how amazing your dog’s sense of smell is, you can use it to ENRICH their lives.

Now when they sniff you when you get home from work, or if they stop for a super long sniff on a walk, you know how important it is to them and all the information they are gaining.

Pulling a dog away from a good smell, is like clicking on a Chris Hemsworth post and then having a blackout, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in that world!

So, go have fun with your super dog, find new adventures, play games and use their super power for good and not evil.

We’d love to tell you about the hide and seek games we play at Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails Doggy Day Care. We know how important it is to exercise your dog’s body, mind and nose.

We offer loving, enriching doggy day care and fear-free dog grooming services in Wollongong to help you improve the bond you have with your furbub.

Feel free to get in touch.

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