Practice on Grass

Photo by Bradley Brister

Searching on grass freaks out handlers. The great fear, of course is that their dog will pee during the search. And, as we all know, that happens with all sorts of outside searches (and plenty of indoor searches, too).

Nosework embraces and encourages the natural drives in dogs. And, it stimulates them at many different levels. The excitement, just like for us, makes them need to urinate. In addition, having a wet/moist fulcrum helps them search better, so we encourage them to drink frequently. A recipe for lots of urination. Because you know this, be sure to potty your dog frequently so that this hopefully won’t be a huge issue.

And, practice nosework every now and again in pee-inducing settings like around bushes, boulders, and grass.

One of my favorite grass training exercises was given to us during a Nose Work Seminar, but I apologize because I can’t remember which trainer offered the advice…

Go into the park (or other grassy area where plenty of dogs have been). Walk in the grass. Take a tin with odor in it and, while walking forward, toss it over your shoulder behind you. Go a few more feet forward, turn around and give your Search or Find It command and let the dog find the source. One found, reward your dog. Pick up the hide. Walk forward. Toss it once more over your shoulder.

There are so many great aspects to this practice tool. The dog becomes engaged in the game, thus not interested in peeing on things. And, you don’t know where the hide is, so you can’t lead your dog to it. They have to find it.

Do you have a favorite practice idea for grass? Share it in the comments below.

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