In many cases, humans underestimate animals’ capabilities to solve problems. I knew a dog who could open a crate door on the right side, and on the left side, on cue. While those are not necessarily behaviors I want to teach, I do want my scent dogs to be confident and able to independently solve problems to efficiently hunt for scent.
Check out how one donkey solves the problem of how to get past a fence in this video by the Dodo:
Surprised? If his owner always went ahead of him and opened the gate, the human would not be aware of the donkey’s capabilities. Given a chance, the donkey can use his mind to solve the problem, sans “help”.
Similarly, sometimes our desire to help gets in way of what our sniffer dogs could do. Inaccessible hides might not be as inaccessible as you think. Remember the next time your dog is unsure about what to do, to be silent and give him a chance to work it out for himself! Then you’ll have the chance to see what your detection dog can really do.
Let us know how you do in the comments below.