All you need is a space e.g. kitchen, garden or enclosed outdoor area, a variety of objects and treats! 

  • Set up your space, checking for safety. Ensure there’s nothing slippery, sharp, hot or hazardous. Choose items with a variety of textures, heights and surfaces.
  • Add the food and treats in lots of different places – down low, up high, etc. 
  • Bring your dog into the Exploration Zone area and remove their lead, collar and harness.
  • Carefully observe them. Where do they go first? Is there anything they avoid? Use the checklist

If you place a tasty treat at a height or in a place that your dog might not feel confident e.g. in a ball pit or on a movable surface, make sure you also place the exact same treat down low or in an easy-to-find position. This will ensure they don’t get themselves into a situation they don’t feel comfortable in and can’t get out of – just because they want a particular treat!

Always vary the items and the kinds of food in the Exploration Zone area. Go to charity shops, organise a swap-shop with friends – bonus as the items come pre-loaded with novel scent!

As Exploration Zone is focused on the individual it may not be appropriate to include all the elements from the checklist for every dog. Less confident dogs may need to begin with less items in their Exploration Zone area. More items can be introduced slowly.