Friday, January 2, 2015

Nose Work Supplies & Silly Games

It's been cold and yucky outside lately (by Florida standards anyway). I've been trying to keep Jedi entertained. He's a pain in the butt when he's bored. Our Find the Odor class resumes on Monday. I am so excited! Jedi and I were practicing regularly until Christmas Eve. That's when I knocked the glass jar contained all the Sweet Birch scented Q-Tips off the counter. The jar shattered into hundreds of teeny tiny pieces. I was afraid to save the Q-Tips, worried there were glass fragments embedded in them. This left me in a quandary. My instructor gave me the Q-Tips for practice. I didn't have the oil myself, and you can't exactly buy Sweet Birch oil at Winn Dixie!

Our new nose work kit!
I searched the internet. I found Sweet Birch oil on Amazon (seriously, you can buy pretty much anything on Amazon) but I was worried it wasn't right. And how would I store it? Then I found K9 NW Source. They had premade nose work kits for reasonable prices. I ordered the Deluxe Starter Kit on December 27th and it arrived 6 days later -- even with a Sunday and a holiday in between. This kit is great! It's smaller than I had thought -- not much bigger than an International Coffee tin -- but it's packed full of goodies. This air-tight box contains oil, pre-scented Q-Tips (in both black and white), tins and tubes for hiding, and tweezers to keep my fingers from smelling like Wint-O-Green Lifesavers all day. Trust me, that scent gets annoying pretty quickly.

The Muffin Tin game
In the meantime we've been playing silly nose games. I'll hide toys and treats in and under the couch, then asked Jedi to find them. Sometimes he really has to dig to get them. Other times I'll hide somewhere in the house and have Jedi come find me. We have a lot of fun with the Muffin Tin game too. Have you played this one? It's really easy. Better yet, it's cheap budget friendly! Grab an old muffin tin and a bunch of tennis balls. (Dollar Tree sells balls two for a dollar. They're not all that great for fetching or chewing, but they're perfect for this.) Hide treats in the tin, cover them with balls, and then tell your dog to get the treats. For Jedi I only hide treats under 3-4 of the balls to make it a bit more challenging. Sometimes Jedi will paw at the balls, sometimes he tries to nose them out of the way and sometimes he'll just pick them up with his mouth and drop them to the side. The Muffin Tin game is a fun, easy thing to do with your dog when you can't get outside. So, what do you do to keep your dog from driving you nuts when the weather is bad? We're always looking for ideas! -- K