– a box that fits the toys and some larger boxes
– a small box that fits a cotton swab
– three bottles of essential oils of odors that the dog probably has not encountered, such as cloves, anise and birch, or even a bottle of vanilla extract
– cotton swabs
– a box to hide the cotton buds that are loaded with fragrance.
You can do this in a studio apartment, in your backyard, in the car or in an office building.
Make sure your dog can “find” his toys in a box first. Exuberant praise, toys and treats reward the dog for his efforts. Later you hide the toys in a box among other empty boxes, and the dog is rewarded for finding the box that hides his toys. As soon as the dog becomes addicted to the game of “finding” you can use an essential oil, such as birch, anise, or clove. A miniscule amount of one of these essential oils is put on a very small cotton swab. The dog is rewarded for sniffing the container to indicate his discovery. Then make the locations more and more difficult. Because your dog learns to play the game, you learn how to closely observe your dog, so that you know when your dog has found the scent. Keep the “find” time short, no more than a minute or two. Make sure that the dog can come to the box, because self-reward is important, and give the dog a nice break between ‘finds’ and keep it to 10 and no more than 15 minutes in a day.