Scentventure Compass Point: Exploration
Which 20 minute activity is ‘as tiring as an hour-long walk’ and leaves reactive and distracted dogs in a deep state of relaxation without even leaving the house?
It’s Exploration Zone!
It fits perfectly into Base Camp because it gives your dog something practical to do while you consider triggers, management and look for an Ugly Walk.
Exploration Zone is suitable for any age, breed and physical health status. It is a supercharged enrichment activity, a feast for all the senses. Smell, taste, sound, touch and sight are all taken care of here. Dogs love it and us humans do too because it’s easy to set up, fun to watch and learn from, and it usually leaves dogs in a deep state of peace and relaxation afterwards.
Build your own Exploration Zone
Enjoy an exploratory, enriching and engaging experience with your dog. It’s simple to set up and no training or experience is necessary!
- Decide where to set up. Kitchens, living rooms or gardens work well. Ensure there’s nothing slippery, sharp, hot or hazardous.
- Prepare a variety of dog safe foods – include something to lick, something to chew, crunchy treats and soft treats!
- Scavenge some interesting non-edible scents to include in your Zone. We love used animal bedding!
- Raid your shed, attic or cupboard for extra Scentventure Stations to add to the Zone. Select a variety of textures, heights and surfaces.
- Add the food and treats all around the Zone – down low, up high, at nose level.
- Exploration Zone is best done naked! (Your dog, not you – though we don’t judge!)
- Bring your dog into the Zone and observe.
- If you place a tasty treat at a height or in another place that your dog might not feel confident reaching it, also place the same treat in an easy-to-reach position. This will ensure they don’t get themselves into a situation they don’t feel comfortable in just because they want the food.
- Vary the scents, items and food in the Exploration Zone. Go to charity shops, organise a swap-shop with friends – bonus as it’s cheaper, better for the environment and the items come preloaded with interesting scent.
- Less confident dogs – start with fewer items in their Exploration Zone and introduce more over the next sessions as their confidence increases.
- If your dog seems overexcited after the Exploration Zone, give them a long lasting chew or lickimat at the end and next time, start with fewer items in their Zone and introduce more over the next sessions.
- If your dog has a tendency to show guarding behaviours or insecurity or aggression around resources, please speak to a Scentventure Guide about whether this Exploration Zone is suitable for your dog.
Exploration Zone is a fantastic way for the Scentventure Guides to get to know your dog, so upload a video in the community for us to watch.