dog sniffing during walk

Why You Should Let Your Dogs Sniff on Their Walks

(Last Updated On: May 6, 2020)

Ever thought there is a need to let your dogs sniff on their walks?  If you knew this was a way for a dog to get more enrichment from their walks would you embrace it more? When it comes to health and happiness, taking your dog out for a walk will always be a good decision. While you are busy walking with your dog, and checking out the scenery, your dog’s nose is also working thoroughly.

When taking your dog out, the habit to sniff on their walks can be annoying but always try to remember walking the dog is supposed to be more about the dog, than you. It is okay to hurry them along every once in a while, but also remember there are benefits of a good sniff walk.

Why Do Dogs Sniff So Much?

Sniffing things is an automatic behavior to dogs. Every dog owner can confirm that their dogs are big on sniffing. Every dog has different sniffing habits. What is the reason your dog keeps on sniffing? This is because their nose is their most powerful tool for exploring their surroundings. Even though dogs also have five senses as people do, their sense of smell is way stronger than ours.

Dogs are all about smell while humans are mostly visual creatures. They have millions of more olfactory sensors than humans do. They also have an extra organ; the vomer nasal organ, on the roof of their mouth for the purpose of processing smells. This explains why the primary way a dog takes in information about the world around him is through the sense of smell.

Have you seen the importance of letting your dog sniff yet? Denying your dog sniffing through walks can be loosely compared to having to walk blindfolded as a person. Dogs need to sniff. It’s a good way for them to experience or explore the world and make sense of everything. If your dog wants to sniff something for a few minutes, you should let him. You do not have to always let them indulge, but you should allow the dog to do it often.

What Is So Great About Sniffing?

Dogs learn about the world by putting their nose to anything that seems fascinating. They find the information they need through their noses. That’s why your dog keeps on stopping every so often to get an in-depth sniff.

Every tree, bush, pole, and pant leg is possibly covered in informative smells. They can be able to tell if another dog recently passed through the area, approximately how long ago they were there, the dog’s gender, what they like to eat, what kind of mood they were in, and if there are any threats nearby. You can think of it as their form of Google. Sniffing lets your dog use his brain and can be a great source of mental stimulation.

The Benefits of Sniff Walks

Dogs have been found out to display less of misbehavior when they are allowed to use their noses. Sniff walks helps dogs in:

  1. Boosting their sense of smell
  2. Dogs tend to enjoy their walk more
  3. They become more stimulated, gain more choice and freedom and hence happier
  4. Sniff walks make dogs more relaxed
  5. Dogs noses could be 100000 times more sensitive than ours hence noticing something faster.
  6. The sense of smell which is boosted is crucial for communicating, exploring and evaluating
  7. Sniffing a specific scent and then interpreting the accompanying information is the canine version of a mental work out.

When to Let your dogs sniff

There is no perfect percentage of walking to sniffing that fits all dogs, so, it’s up to you to find that balance for your dog. It is advisable to let the dog do his business in the first couple of minutes, then you can go for the walk or run. He can get to sniff again when you are on your cooling down walk. Nevertheless, there are also times when you go for a leisurely walk, and he can get more time to sniff around.

A simple way of teaching your dog when they get to sniff is having different harness for different days. Wear a different harness on a day you are running or walking fast with no periods of sniffing than when you are walking. This will help the dog know the difference. When the dog wears a running harness, he will not try to sniff that much, he will go. On the other hand, if he wears a walking harness, it helps him to realize that we are going for a walk and he knows that we are going slower hence a more relaxed experience and more sniffs. Ideally, the best dog harness to stop pulling should help you walk your dog better while allowing him to sniff periodically.

How Else Can Your Dog Exercise Their Sniffer?

In addition to giving your dog more chances to sniff while on walks, there are other enriching activities that you can consider doing if your dog likes working their nose.

  • Foraging for Food

This is an inexpensive and easy way to offer your dog extra enrichment. You scatter dry treats over a harmless, non-distracting, grassy setting and then allow your dog to come out and naturally hunt for the food. This is a superb activity for the less mobile dogs that may be on restricted exercise, and it can also be a useful tool for helping nervous dogs to feel more relaxed and confident.

This activity can also be done indoors on a rainy day, on a smaller scale using a Snuffle Mat. These are rubber mats that have felt ‘grass’ strands tied on them and you can bury his food and make dogs sniff out.

  • Nose work classes

These will train your dog to use his sense of smell and get rewards for doing so. It might provide your dog with plenty of stimulation that he feels less need to stop and sniff on your walks. Your dog will be taught to identify a particular scent and will learn how to find it and alert their handler as to the position it has been hidden in.

On the other hand, you might try agility training or vigorous play sessions to provide physical stimulation, then reserve walks for sniffing time. The method is really up to you.