For optimal health, your dog has got to get a good amount of exercise.

Ask your vet how much daily exercise your breed needs. My collie/mix, Rosy,  needs at least an hour a day – optimally an hour and a half.  Hard to walk her that much at times. And I don’t have a fenced in backyard to let her romp. Do you have that same problem?

Here’s an idea. Try Nose work. We’re talking about your dog’s nose here – using their amazing ability to detect scent and how putting their nose to work in a guided activity becomes a fun, engaging game for your dog that can actually tire them out.  This is an activity that requires little effort from you, not much physical space yet provides great mental and physical stimulation for your dog. It can be done outside or inside at home, any time of day and can be repeated in small increments of time. It’s great when the weather outdoors is just dreadful or the times you just don’t have the time for that long walk or run.

Here’s a description of what Nose Work is, as found on the , K9 Nose Work® website.

“Inspired by working detection dogs,  K9 Nose Work® is the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy to learn activity and sport builds confidence and focus in many dogs, and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and physical exercise.

K9 Nose Work starts with getting your dog excited about using his nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat reward hidden in one of several boxes, expanding the game to entire rooms, exterior areas, and vehicles. As your dog grows more confident with his nose, target odors are introduced, and competition skills are taught.”

Watch a video of dogs doing Nose work.

Of course, you may never want to compete with your dog, it’s still a fun activity to do over your dog’s lifetime.

The benefits of Nose work are that dogs easily burn lots of mental & physical energy doing searches, the searches can be done anywhere you can take your dog,  any age or size dog can learn it, no obedience is needed, shy or fearful dogs build confidence and overactive dogs put their energy into fun searches.

You both do need to learn how to do it, so you’ll want to get some instruction. My dog Rosy and I took classes and now that we have learned how to do Nose work,  I have a great activity for her that is easy to do in the house or around my car, it fast to set up, basically does not cost anything, is fun for her and best yet, satisfies her need for activity. Intrigued? Check it out.

To find out more about Nose work, who is teaching in your area and where to take classes, look up “Nose work” on your computer or at the library. Here’s the link to the official K-9 Nose work website:

Here’s a great article about Nose Work.

Next time: Both of you want to get more exercise? A very fun, fast moving, thinking activity for you and your dog.