Your dogs nose is AMAZING, if only they could tell us what it is telling them. Their natural instinct is to sniff everything, nose down and bum up with tail wagging! They literally sniff out the latest news and a lamp post to a dog is like their social media feed and our dogs spend about the same amount of time on it as the children do on their phones. We humans have found many incredible uses for the dogs nose including detection of medical conditions, rot, explosives, criminals, pests and bugs, lost possessions and people in fact what a dogs nose can detect to save life, time and money is only limited by our imagination.
Your dog does not need to be trained to use its nose but you can tap into that natural ability and with training focus on finding specific things for fun in the home or to make your walks a lot more interactive and interesting. Darren has studied dogs and their ability to scent for over 30 years and has trained many dogs across many disciplines. Since we have been together it has constantly amazed me what a dog can find once you switch their nose on and don't get me started on the joy I get watching them air scenting and quickly changing direction when they are on it, or when something is buried so deep that you think they will never get that one - they always do. There have of course been the perilous moments like the time he was show boating and threw his wallet over a river to prove to me that one of ours would bring it back to hand - yes across the river (he hadn't really thought that through and the pub were less than impressed with the soggy note we later gave them). There have also been the funny moments when we had painstakingly dropped unseen by the dog a number of items along a river bank to send them back to find only to have a concerned passer by dash up to us panting to give them back!
My favourite memory of seeing a scent dog evolve is of our Bou (the girl in the picture), Boudica was her name and she was indeed queen of all she surveyed. She was we had decided destined to be a search and rescue dog however she was far too young (only 3 months) for any serious training yet she clearly wanted to do more than just run over the downs, in addition Darren was going through a period of ill health and needed to focus on her training to keep his mind occupied as well as lay the groundwork in a fun way for her potential future. Darren having spent his life in Sussex and knowing a few local legends about truffles being on them there downs he decided to train her to sniff them out for fun. The thought of this excited me as I love to cook and had already worked out what I would do with them. And so it began..... daily fun, man and dog working together and off on adventures every day always sending me updates to make me smile at work. Suffice to say they formed an unbreakable bond and well you could have blown me down on a particularly miserable day when I was sat in my office in London when a photo popped up of a pile of black diamonds, I couldn't wait to get home!!! Her daughter Guinevere (yes we like a queens name) is following in her fabulous mothers paw prints and we have a growing number of clients who are livening up their local forest walks hunting with their hounds. Be warned though you need to get out there early to beat the badgers to them!
Truffle hunting isn't for everyone or every dog, not everyone has access to the right woodland and truffle season is relatively short. Some owners or dogs may have mobility issues or there may be time constraints, we all have busy lives but the dog still needs activity to wear them out and a mental game can be just as exhausting as a long walk. There is a scent game to suit all dogs, lifestyle and environment and it needn't cost a fortune to get going.
Scent games for dogs is rapidly becoming a sporting activity to keep the dog mentally and physically agile and we are delighted that we can now offer focused Scent Experiences and training at Battle Croft Farm. We are lucky that we have the facilities and land that means dog and owner can learn together in a safe, secure not to mention beautiful environment whilst working with a trainer who loves scent, understands the dogs nose and has a wealth of experience as well as a story or two!
The benefits of a scent activity are great and the potential fun is huge, to me there is nothing as rewarding as when I send one of ours to find something and they actually indicate. They always look so pleased with themselves. I have set out some of the benefits below.
Builds confidence in a shy dog.
Taps into what your dog is already well equipped for and focuses it.
Reinforces commands providing a better response in all aspects of your dogs life
Stimulates and exercises your dog both physically and mentally
You and your dog work together - its about teamwork
Fun time for you and your dog.
We would really love to welcome you to the farm and have some scent fun!
A Scent Experience is personalised for you and your dog. Its a 2 hour session at Battle Croft Farm and devoted to your dogs nose. You will learn about the different types of scenting and have the opportunity to search both indoors and out for different objects and scent. As its a 1-2-1 Darren will spend time discussing ways you can work with your dog in your own environment after the session. We can also tailor sessions if you have longer term plans for your scent hound.
We will show you different techniques to find what interests you and your dog. You will get to test the techniques and leave with tips, commands and games to have fun in your home or on your walks.
Suitable for all breeds and ages.- any dog can have fun with new activities.