Sprat Onna String (the name is a homage to Terry Pratchett) is fun game for you to play with your dog.
Tie a sprat (a smelly dried fish) to a piece of string or a shoelace. With your dog in the house, take the sprat for a walk around the garden, leaving a smelly trail for your dog to follow. Leave a sprat at end of the trail for your dog to find.
Take your dog to the start of the trail and wait for them to show signs of catching a sniff of the sprat, and once they do, start encouraging them as they follow the trail. Once they find the sprat, tell them how clever they are.
Make it easy for your dog to begin with so that they don’t give up, they may not have good problem solving skills yet.
Most dogs love sprats, but if your dog is not keen, or if your pup is under 3 months old, you might want to consider using an alternative smelly food.
Purposeful sniffing (when the dog is ‘looking’ for something specific with their nose) releases dopamine in dogs which promotes anticipation, optimism and learning.
Sniffing provides mental stimulation for your dog, which is more physically tiring than physical exercise. A dog’s resting heartbeat is about 30 bpm, it rises to about 60 bmp when the dog is doing fast physical exercise, but when they are sniffing purposely their heart rate rises to about 180-200 bmp – 3 times faster than when they’re running around!
10 minutes of this game will give you a happy and tired dog ???.
This is a game that you can play with your dog that is fun and will encourage them to use their nose to find food on the floor. I like to call it ‘sprat onna string’ ??.
Note that sprats aren’t suitable for puppies under 3 months, so you might want to find some other smelly food.