Some dogs shake. Some ride skateboards. Some can hunt and bring birds back to their owners.
Mine can figure out which electric box smells like birch.
My dog and daughter and I just finished a nose work class. Basically, we were trying to teach our miniature labradoodle to sniff out a q-tip that was scented with birch. I don’t know why they have dogs learn how to find birch. Maybe, if we’re ever in the woods with birch trees and we get separated from our dog, we can sit by a birch tree and she’ll find us.
Nosework is a great class. It takes less effort than teaching a dog a trick like shaking hands or opening the fridge and getting me a Diet Coke, but it’s still a trick.
If you put three electrical boxes down on the ground (like you generally do on a Thursday evening), and one of the boxes has a Q-tip scented with birch, our dog will find it.
She will then stare you down until you give her a treat. You can try and tell her how great she is and pet her and give her attention, but she’ll look at you and you’ll know this isn’t a good enough reward. She wants freeze-dried chicken and she wants it now.
When you think about it, her staredown is a trick in and of itself. And it’s hard to ignore because she’s a miniature labradoodle and therefore kind of pathetic looking. You end up giving her your steak just so she’ll stop looking at you with her brown eyes with a hint of sadness in them.
She’s not sad, of course. She has nothing to be sad about. She got your steak yesterday too.