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What's all the fuss about sniffing?

23/02/2020 - Training

Hello everyone, I'm Remus.

Some of you will already know me as my Mum is Debbie Potter, however if you don’t, I am a 9month old Fox Red Labrador, ever since I came home as an 8week old puppy I’ve been a little anxious. I really didn’t like being left alone at all and I only wanted to be with my Mum. Now I am getting used to being on my own more but I can still be a little anxious in some situations.

My nose is super strong and I have a great ability to smell things, more than you humans could ever imagine! Not only do I smell a lot more things than you can, I have a special extra olfactory organ which detects pheromones and can help me to gain information on other dogs and animals, recognise emotions and detect illnesses too!

On my walks sometimes it can be a little overwhelming and when I catch a really good smell I pull on my lead towards it and can be sniffing for ages! Thankfully my Mum is really nice and lets me sniff for as long as I want to. I like this because when I’m sniffing I gather so much information about all the different dogs and people that have walked by and it really makes me feel relaxed and a bit more confident.

Every week I have some special time with my Granny who takes me to sniffing class, it’s really fun.  There are usually 3 or 4 other dogs there, however I’m too busy sniffing to worry about what they are up to (I even ignore my Mum!). We start each class learning that a certain odour produces yummy food (being a hungry Labrador, I really like this part as all I have to do is sniff the odour and I get yummy cheese!).

Once we are all warmed up, things get a little more challenging and the cheese-producing-odour isn’t right in front of me. My job is to find it! Sometimes it is hidden in the grass or inside black pipes and EVERY time I find it, I get cheese! I love cheese! Then it gets harder to find, as the odour isn’t as strong so I use my nose to search all over chairs, or in bags and I have to sniff each one really carefully to see if I can find the special odour! As soon as I do, it’s cheese time!!!

Sniffing is thirsty work so we have a couple of breaks to rest and refocus. Granny even gets a Hot Chocolate! After the break I always feel a little more recharged and can find the smell quicker.

Now I’ve learnt the basics, it gets even more interesting as sometimes the odour is hidden in strange places and objects or on the outside of a car. I have to stretch, bend, twist and climb to find it!

After sniffing class my brain aches and I am SO tired, I can barely keep my eyes open on the journey home. Once there, I snuggle up in my bed and snooze for the rest of the day, in my dreams I am a super dog, fighting crime or saving the day just like the working sniffer dogs you see in airports or searching for missing people!
Here are some really interesting things:
  • I can breathe in and out at the same time – I know you can’t!
  • The part of my brain used for sniffing is 40 times larger than yours
  • I have a more optimistic outlook on life because I spend time sniffing
  • Attending sniffer class has really improved my confidence
  • I’m still growing so I shouldn’t exercise for too long yet, but I am much more tired after sniffing class than a walk!
  • I started classes when I was 18 weeks old, you're never too young or too old for sniffer class.
It would be really great if you joined us a Sniffer Classes, promise your hu-mum that you’ll sleep for the rest of the day and hopefully they’ll let you come!