Labs are known for having great sniffers, and encouraging your pup to use it can help increase its capabilities. With these fun and easy nose games, you can help your Labrador exercise their brain as well as encourage them to pay more attention to you.
During Walks Play “Find It”
You can quickly turn your every day walk into a fun puzzle by playing “Find It” with Fido.
After your pup has finished doing their business and your walk has progressed to continuous walking, ask them to sit/lie down and then stay.
Next, show your pup a treat and set it on the ground a couple of feet away from them.
Reward your Lab with a different treat once they successfully followed your stay command, even with such a considerable temptation right in front of them
Then allow them to retrieve the original treat that you laid on the ground. Not only can your pooch smell the treat, but they can also see where you put it – which helps them learn the basics for this game.
After a couple of successful rounds of this, you can start to increase the difficulty of the game.
Try hiding the treats under some sticks or behind a tree. Maybe try hiding the treat above ground level, on a stump or a bench. You can also go to several spots, pretending to hide a treat at each one, but actually, only hide one.
Lay a Scent Trail
This game can either be played inside or outside. If you choose to play indoors, it would be best to choose a room with tile or linoleum flooring.
Start by making sure your Lab is not in the same room with you or inside and can’t see what you’re up to.
Drop tiny pieces of treats every couple of feet along your route, with a big treat bonus at the very end. In the beginning, be sure to make this route very easy to follow and not too long so that Fido can quickly learn how this game works.
Once you’ve finished laying your trail, bring your canine companion to the start of it and allow them to complete it successfully.
The more you play, the harder you can start to make the trails. Slowly increasing the difficulty for your Lab by making the path longer, randomly snaking it instead of just making a straight line, and even leaving large patches of open between two treats so that your pup has to work harder to find the next treat and continue the trail.
Hide Food-Dispensing Toys Around Your House
This is a great game for when you have to leave your pup home alone and want to be sure they aren’t bored.
As Fido starts to find the toys quicker and quicker, start hiding them in harder places – like on different levels of the house or under furniture.
Eventually, you also won’t need to show your pup that you’re hiding the toys anymore.
Be sure to use the same amount of toys every time so that your Lab will know when they’ve discovered every last toy.
Teaching your Lab new games isn’t only a great way to bond with them, but it also is great for their mental stimulation. Include their incredible nose, and you’re also helping them increase their sniffing capabilities.