4 – Scentventure Stations

Everyone needs a toolkit of simple strategies to help their dog focus on them and ignore a distraction. The distraction could be a person or another dog, or just general excitement making them pull on the lead. Being able to regain your dog’s focus quickly means you can pass a distraction, let a distraction pass you or break a pulling on the lead episode. Have a variety of techniques up your sleeve to pull out whenever you need laser-sharp focus to avoid big embarrassing meltdowns. 

In this section we stop thinking of our walk as needing to get from A to B in X number of minutes, or repeatedly throwing a tennis ball because there’s nothing else to do.

There is so much more you can do.

Scentventure Stations provide pauses on your walk where you practice quick, simple activities for improving focus, calm and connection – so your dog chooses you over the other dogs, people, traffic, whatever it is that’s currently causing your dog to have a meltdown. 

Pause on your walk for sniffing, searching, climbing and balancing. It slows your dog down, distracts them from triggers and improves focus, calm and connection. It’s all about building connection so they choose you over the many distractions out there.

We replace high-arousal activities that cause spikes in the stress hormone cortisol such as ball play or fetch with low-arousal activities at Scentventure Stations.

We show you one Scentventure Station here and you will learn another one in the Stress Free Dog Walks challenge.

Find an obstacle that your dog can safely put both front feet onto. Start with a low object that is not big enough for your dog to get up onto with all four paws.

Possible obstacles: footstool, step, log, tree trunk, solid box, solid suitcase, curb, chair, washing up bowl

How to train 

1.   Lure your dog up onto the obstacle with food. Use your marker word and reward them with the food from your hand.

2.   Once your dog is confidently and smoothly following the lure, remove the food and use just your hand for your dog to follow. Mark and reward. 

3.   Once your dog is confidently and smoothly following your hand without a lure, add a verbal cue just before you begin. Mark and reward. The verbal cue is ‘Bear’.

4.   Once your dog is listening to the cue and performing the behaviour, start a short distance away and walk up to the obstacle together.


Can your dog stay in Bear position longer? If your dog knows “wait” or “stay”, you can cue that. If not, build duration incrementally by delaying your marker and reward. Or, feed in position with a rapid rate of treat delivery then slow it down. Feeding your dog while they are still in position rather than after they’ve moved reinforces the idea that the good things happen when they are in that position.

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