Have you ever seen those viral videos of cats getting high on catnips? If you have not, here’s one just for laughs:
Do you know that there is an “equivalent” of a catnip for dogs.. and it’s a common spice in our household?
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that dogs are excited by the scent of anise seed or aniseed. Part of the reason for our doggo’s obsession with anise seed is its unique sweet liquorice aroma.
And that is why anise seed has long been used as smell lures for hunting and racing dogs to trace and chase. While our cute doggos are no hunting or racing dogs, they will love games that tap on their strength of smell!
Dogs love, no, THRIVE in nose work
In fact, dogs who engage in nose work are happier dogs according to research. But we already know that, don’t we? When we bring our dogs on their daily walks, they really love smelling the neighbourhood and “reading” the secret messages left by their friends. The reason dogs enjoy smelling so much (much more than we do), is that while we have about six million olfactory receptors, dogs have about 300 million. We sniff once per second-and-a-half, and dogs, five to 10 times a second.
Just imagine, every sniff to a dog is like a beautiful sunset awashed in the most mesmerizing colours, in high-definition no less. Why, we would love sniffing as much too!
Using Anise Seed Treats for Nose Work
Because of aniseed’s distinct scent, and how much dogs love it, I use it in nose work with my dog.
One of the games we play require my dog to find the aniseed chicken jerky at easy-to-find places initially, and she gets to eat the chicken jerky as a treat. After she understood the concept of the game, I increase the difficulty of the game by hiding the chicken jerky at more obscure places and letting her sniff them out. She might take a longer time, but she always finds it!
Just don’t let your cute doggo trick you into playing the game forever. A few treats is fine, but too much aniseed treats could cause diarrhea and discomfort to dogs – much like how we have the runs when we have too much spicy food.