Go, Sniff!

It is a great non-basic command where you teach your dog to go and sniff a nearby area on command. This doesn’t sound like the most practical or applicable command for many situations, does it? Wrong!

There are several moments in which this command can be an ideal tool to redirect our dogs.


  1. Your dog is reacting to another dog while on a leash.
    If you are working on Heel, Look & Sit/Stay with your dog while another dog is passing by, but at a given point, your dog goes Over-Threshold (the state in which your dog is not responsive to you while there are nearby distractions) despite you showing up with treats and other motivators, you can try Go Sniff! You can use Go Sniff! To momentarily redirect their attention onto the nearby ground as you toss high-valued treats onto the floor. Doing so will give the other dog and their handler time to walk by and will also give you time to change directions so that you don’t keep your dog Over-Threshold. After moving a distance away, you can return to your practice of Heel, Look, and Sit/Stay while your dog is at Threshold Distance (the point at which your dog is distracted but capable of following your instructions).
  2. Your dog is resource-guarding an item that fell onto the floor from you.
    If you accidentally drop a food item on the floor and your dog begins to show very tense body language over it, effectively guarding it from you, you can use Go Sniff! (ensuring your treats are of higher value).  Toss a handful of treats a moderate distance away so your dog can choose to leave the resource-guarded item for the higher-valued treats. This will give you the time to safely pick up the item and effectively manage & mitigate your dog’s resource guarding.
  3. Your dog abruptly stops walking (not due to health & wellness).
    If your dog abruptly stops walking because they are unwilling to pass by a distraction, or they are afraid of walking over a bridge, etc.- you can use Go Sniff! to work on growing their willingness to continue walking past the nearby distraction or trigger.

Joshua Quinn

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