Smell simulator will allow lockdown puppies to sniff out the real world | TeamDogs
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Smell simulator will allow lockdown puppies to sniff out the real world

More than half of us owners worry our dog will struggle with new environments

Danielle Elton

Posted 3 months ago ago

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We’ve all spent much of the last year cooped up inside our homes eager to get back to a sense of normality, whatever that is.

We never thought we’d miss the early morning commute to the office but we have.

And while we've all been eager to get down the pub to enjoy a freshly-poured pint, and jumped at the chance for a little spring staycation, it could all be too much for our dogs, especially those puppies born during lockdown.

Apart from walkies and the few familiar faces they’ve been used to at home, our dogs have lived a very sheltered life during the past year. Suddenly introducing them to a crowded beer garden or a packed-out train could prove extremely overwhelming.

That’s why pet wellness experts Itch are developing a new interactive simulator specifically designed to introduce pups bought or adopted in lockdown to the unfamiliar smells of the real world.

We all know how much our dogs love to stop for a sniff while out on walkies, but although they might be inquisitive little things, nearly a quarter of owners think their dogs are a lot more comfortable around smells they are familiar with.

That’s where The Smellulator can help. It will introduce our dogs to the places we’re likely to visit with our four-legged friend, the pub being one of them.

The four scent profiles combine different notes of each location, intended to give a realistic experience for pets. Here’s what they’ll be able to smell:

  • Inside a pub: Essences of beer mingled with slightly stale peanuts 
  • Staycation: Fragrances of a typical seaside staycation, where drops of salty sea air and fish and chips are finished off with a fresh dollop of seagull poo
  • Public transport: This compartment contains that all too familiar scent of sweat, morning newspapers and a half-eaten sandwich on a stuffy tube, train or bus
  • The office: This section features base notes of freshly brewed coffee and the comforting smell of the photocopier mixed with last night’s leftovers heated up in the microwave

Oli Juste, leading dog trainer and behaviourist, known for Channel 4’s Puppy School, and a member of Itch’s advisory panel, commented on the findings: “Smells and scents play a much more important part in our dogs’ lives than they do in ours. 

“Smell is without a doubt their most used sense, and that’s because they are so beautifully equipped for it.

“This also means that when dogs experience new situations, it’s mostly about smells. A great way to help them get ready and deal with these new experiences is through scent exchange. 

“Dogs can get to know someone before they even meet in person or discover a place even before visiting it. How? They just need to use their nose. 

“You can gather or collect someone’s scent on a piece of cloth, a blanket or a toy, and introduce this toy to your dog ahead of the initial meeting. This will give the dog extra time to process the scent.”

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