In the sport of nosework (or scent detection) dogs search for a target odor that has been secretly placed in each of the four ‘elements’. Dogs must learn to search containers (like boxes or suitcases), interior spaces, exterior spaces and vehicles. In a nosework trial dogs can be asked to search any kind of vehicle. My dog Mabel has had to search horse trailers, SUVs, and tractors, besides just regular old sedans, and there can be 3-5 vehicles, with anywhere from one to three ‘hides’ placed for the dog to find.
My young dog Billie is just learning how to do a vehicle search. My older dog Mabel needs some confidence boosting, and to rediscover her love of vehicle searching. So with both dogs, I’ve been working a fun exercise called “Running Bunny”.
What exactly is a “Running Bunny”?
Running Bunny is a technique for moving the target odor around a car. When dogs realize that the ‘bunny’ is moving around the car, they become very focused on the vehicle and begin to search as if glued to it.
There are a number of ways to do Runny Bunny. The method you choose should be based on the experience of your dog. Each method has pros and cons.