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Discover Scentwork for Dogs in Bristol

Dog attending scentwork class in Bristol

Did you know that dogs use their sense of smell to gather and process information about their environment?

Dive into the world of scentwork in Bristol with accredited dog trainer and scent detection instructor Giulia Danielis from My Kinda Dog.

In this introduction to scentwork, you’ll learn how your dog’s nose works and discover activities to stimulate their senses.

How Your Dog's Nose Works

Your dog’s nose, which is part of their olfactory system, is a complex and sophisticated apparatus.

Did you know that a dog can detect the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water?

That’s the size of two Olympic-sized swimming pools!

Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to just 6 million in humans.

Their olfactory bulb, which processes smells, is about 40 times larger than ours.

This enables dogs to smell up to 100,000 times better than humans.

When dogs inhale, they do so separately from each nostril. When they exhale, the air exits from slits on the sides of their nose, allowing them to continually gather new scents.

Their noses have two separate areas for inhaling air: one for breathing and one for scenting.

This sophisticated system allows dogs to recognise and remember a wide variety of smells and locate the direction of odours with precision.

This is why dogs are great at detecting explosives and drugs, finding missing people, tracking wildlife, detecting invasive plants, and even detecting illnesses like cancer and COVID-19.

Not all dogs need to be trained at such a high level of precision, of course, but allowing dogs to use their incredible sense of smell is still very important for their welfare and well-being.

Indeed, scentwork is a well-rounded activity that can be enjoyed by pet dogs as well, bringing them multiple benefits.

Why is Scentwork for Dogs Important?

Providing dogs with opportunities to use their nose and sniff is important for several reasons.

Sniffing and processing scents requires a huge amount of brainpower, meaning it’s a great activity to meet your dog’s needs for mental stimulation. But not only that!

It’s also a great way to tire your dog out and help them feel satisfied and relaxed.

Indeed, scentwork also helps dogs feel calm, as sniffing lowers a dog’s heart rate. The faster and more intensively a dog sniffs, the lower their pulse will be.

Scentwork also teaches a dog how to problem-solve and work on tasks ‘independently’, boosting their confidence and increasing their positive outlook on life.

This is why scentwork is successfully used to help sensitive dogs improve their confidence and learn to cope better with potentially stressful situations.

Last but not least, it’s also a great bonding activity to do with your dog, as it can really help to enhance your relationship and forge an even stronger partnership than ever before.

Scentwork is all about giving dogs the opportunity to do what they do best: using their nose!

It’s not only incredibly fun for them but also for us humans!

Easy Scentwork Games to Play with Your Dog

Find It

All you need for this game is a handful of treats and a surface to throw the treats on.

Say something like ‘find it’ or any other expression that works for you, and then scatter the treats on the floor for your dog to find using their nose!

Start in an environment without many distractions, and as your dog gets better and better, try to take the training with you on walks!

Just make sure there won’t be other dogs likely to come in close proximity to your dog whilst they are sniffing for food, as we don’t want to create any conflict over food resources.

Treat Trails

This game is so simple yet fun and effective! All you need is your dog, some of their favourite treats, and an area to hide them.

Ask someone else to hold your dog by their harness and lead, or have them in a sit-and-stay position.

Show them the treats and start placing them around a small area.

Start easy, and place them where your dog is likely to find them easily. Then, encourage your dog to start searching using their nose.

With time, gradually increase the challenge by starting to hide treats in different locations – e.g., under things, on things, inside things, behind things – just make sure anything you do is safe for your pup!

What If Your Dog Is Not Food-Motivated?

The good news is that scentwork is an extremely inclusive activity and that as long as we know what your dog loves, everyone can join in! If your dog is more motivated by play than food, you can hide their favourite toy for them to find using their nose!

dog ball bristol scentwork training

Interested in Trying Scentwork?

Join my next workshop on Monday 1st July.

You can find out more here.

And if you have any questions, email me at and let’s get chatting!

And to keep up-to-date with all things puppies, adolescent dogs and scentwork, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Dog trainer with her dog

This blog has been brought to you by Giulia, the owner of My Kinda Dog.

Giulia is a qualified and experienced dog and puppy trainer covering Bristol and surrounding areas. 

She offers private puppy training sessions, private dog training sessions, and scentwork classes.

Giulia is passionate about helping people understand, communicate, train and thrive with their dogs. 

You can see her here with Ruby, her beloved canine companion.