All dogs love to sniff and smell their way through the world. Allowing this behavior, and encouraging this behavior, can lead a dog to be more confident and more optimistic. A confident and optimistic dog is a happier dog. And happier dogs have fewer behavior challenges.
I designed these unique classes to be beneficial to any and every dog that participates. I have taken ideas from Snoezelen, ACE Free Work, Canine Arthritis Management, Canine Fitness, the Slow Dog Movement, Play Theory, and the latest animal behavior science being published today to create a unique olfactory curriculum that can be utilized in a variety of ways.
Olfactory Fun can be “simple” enrichment for your dog or it can be utilized alongside a structured behavior modification plan. The goal is to provide an environment for your dog to be a dog where they can stretch their minds and their bodies in such a way to provide them with full agency. I like to say there are no wrong answers in this class.
This course is great for young dogs who need to “burn off” extra energy, old dogs who still want to work their brains and bodies (albeit at a slower pace), retired sport or working dogs looking for something fun to do in their retirement years, therapy and service dogs who need to de-stress a bit, “sensitive” dogs, and the list goes on and on. Dog-reactive dogs are welcome to participate because only one dog works in the classroom at a time. (Dogs will need to be comfortable staying in the vehicle while the other dogs work in the classroom.)
Every dog will have a unique experience catered to them as they navigate the olfactory course in every session. The humans in class will learn about canine body language and how to use olfactory games at home to continue the benefits learned in class.
Come join us to experience the amazing world of Olfactory Fun!
Robynn Harris, ODMN, CCFT
Olfactory Fun level 1 is a six-week course open to dogs of all ages. Dog-reactive dogs can participate because all dogs will wait in a vehicle while each dog gets his or her chance to work/play with the snuffle course. (Human reactive dogs will be referred for private olfactory games.) This is a foundations class, we will be focusing on teaching the dogs: 1) The joy of using their noses. 2) To be confident while trying new things. 3) To trust their instincts and work independently from their human handlers. Handlers will be working on their observation skills and learning about their dog’s behavior.
- The dogs will be working off leash so they must be safe around new and/or different humans. They do not necessarily need to be comfortable, but they cannot lunge or growl at people. (Barking, most likely, will be okay.)
- The dogs need to be comfortable waiting in your vehicle between searches.
Now that the dogs understand the olfactory game and are feeling more confident, we’re going to add more items to the room for the dogs to explore.
We will challenge the dogs with the addition of canine fitness equipment and other interesting objects. The olfactory puzzles will become a bit more challenging. Dogs do not have to be accurate or fast to succeed in this class, they simply need to enjoy playing the game. This play time will continue to build optimism and confidence in the dogs.
- Completion of Olfactory Fun level 1
Level 3 of Olfactory Fun is about creating a wholly unique experience on the snufflen course for each dog. Class size is capped at 2 students so each dog will get extended time in the classroom. We have hundreds of items for the dogs to interact with physically and olfactorily. Each week the classroom will be set up differently to provide each dog with an optimal experience considering their unique needs and desires.
- Completion of Olfactory Fun level 2 or Instructor approval