Scenting for dogs come very naturally. That said not all dogs use their nose as much as some. Over the years I have seen a big difference just in my own dogs and when you look at all the different breeds and their anatomy there is a big difference in their ability. Dogs can smell far more than we could ever hope to. Their nose contains over 195 million more scent receptors than ours so it is fairly easy to understand why they can smell much more than we can.
I love to watch dogs while they are out for a walk, they smell everything. Elsa is quite the scent dog, much like Tilley was. On a walk I often feel like I am walking a scenting hound dog. Her nose rarely leaves the ground until we've been out for sometime or if something happens to catch her ears, then eyes. If we happen to be walking behind another dog you can see her following every footstep that the dog ahead of us has taken. When at home she often scents to find us. It amazes me how dogs can differentiate between 15 min. old foot steps and the most recently placed ones.
Hide'n seek has always been a big game in our house. Tilley played by scenting out the hider, Luke and my now past boy Clyde would look more than scent. Elsa is the same as Tilley and uses her nose a great deal. So I have been thinking that scent work might be a good activity to give a go.
I have been looking into scent work and found The National Association of Canine Scent work
They have created a group that has opened the door for all dogs to participate in scent work for fun at k9 Nose Work
I think that this would be a great way to channel much of Elsa's natural ability while allowing her to partake in a very natural canine behavior. Allowing our dogs to do what comes naturally while using their brain and their body is a great outlet for them. I am going to start some very beginning scent work at home to see how she enjoys it. Unfortunately scent work training is not offered everywhere so there can be a short to very long drive to get to classes. But if this is something a dog seems to excel at then who knows where it will lead you? Follow the nose.