This is a game that you can play with your dog that is fun and will encourage him to use his nose. I like to call it ‘sprat onna string’ 🐟😂. It’s really good mental stimulation
Most good pet shops will sell dried sprats so you don’t have to dry them yourself, which is not that pleasant a job! Local to Swansea, I think the most cost effective place to buy the sprats is from Pet Hut in Llansamlet, but feel free to share if you’ve found a better deal. If you want to make the sprats even more smelly then keep a few broken cloves of garlic in the bag with the sprats.
- Attach the sprat to a piece of string.
- With your dog in the house, take the sprat for a walk (the sprat must be dragged along the floor) in an area that is safe for your dog to explore, creating a scent trail that your dog can follow.
- At the end of the trail, remove the string from the sprat and hide the sprat.
- Return to your dog.
- Say ‘sprat’ followed by letting your dog smell the sprats in the open bag.
- Say ‘sprat’ followed by giving your dog a sprat.
- Take your dog to the beginning of the trail and say ‘find sprat’.
- Hopefully your dog will pick up the scent of the sprat and start tracking it.
- When the dog finds the sprat he’s rewarded by being allowed to eat the sprat and you’ll also show loads of excitement, further rewarding the dog.
- When you first try this game, make the trail easy for the dog to follow. Puppies and dogs that haven’t had much training won’t have developed problem solving skills yet and if the game is too hard they’ll give up quite quickly. You can gradually make the trails harder each time your play, in order to challenge your dog.
- Try to find different places to do this with your dog to avoid confusing your dog with residual sprat odours.
- Dogs tend to love fish, but if your dog isn’t that bothered, then choose something else that’s reasonably smelly, like a sausage and give the game a different name; ‘sausage on a string’ 🌭😂. I’d caution you allowing your dog to eat a whole sausage though! Use the whole sausage to create the trail, but leave lots of small pieces of sausage for your dog to find at the end of the trail.