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Let your dog sniff during walks. Here’s why
Unlike cats that can thrive in an indoor-only environment, dogs need to walk on a daily basis. This outdoor exercise is good for their health and helps them to work off excess energy. It also gives them an opportunity to engage in their natural instincts, including sniffing the world around them—and this is why we should let them stop and smell along the way.
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the powerful dog’s nose
The nose of your canine friend is designed to sniff. A dog’s sense of smell is almost 10 times stronger than that of a human. While humans rely on their vision, smell is a dog’s predominant sense. Dogs have a sophisticated olfactory system, one that allow them to process information through the process of smell.
You may not be able to smell the leftover burger from a long time ago on the sidewalk or that another dog had sat in a particular spot, but your dog would be able to sniff out those details.
slow down walks to give more time for your dog
A faster, long walk is often not the best option for tiring a dog out. When planning to go on a walk, make time for stopping along the way so that your dog can sniff his surroundings.
Green and grassy parks are heaven on earth for our canine companions. Parks, lawns, or even gardens can offer an interesting and safe place for dog’s to use their mastery sniffing abilities. By allowing your dog to be off leash (or at least on a longer leash) and following their noses, you can be offering a much more beneficial experience.
When your dog is given few choices of their own, and by making time to allow them to stop and sniff, it can be much more mentally stimulating and physically tiring for them – and you are positively empowering them.
sniffing is an important part of a dog’s communication
Sniffing is not just about your dog getting a better overall picture of their environment, it is also an important part of dog communication. Whilst dogs use, often very subtle, body language to communicate, there are other things that make up a vital part of their communication with other dogs and with humans too.
Find safe and interesting places to take your dogs on walks that can give them the space to smell the world and lots of room to run around. Sniffing the environment is part of your dog’s experience of the world. We should give our pets the space to be their own authentic selves, embracing their nature and their instincts.
sniffing makes dogs feel better
A study published in the Applied Animal Behaviour Science Journal in 2019 called ‘Let me sniff! Nosework induces positive judgment bias in pet dogs’ even suggested that giving a dog an opportunity to sniff can increase their optimism. There were two sets of dogs in the study, those that were given nosework opportunities and tasks and those that were given heelwork tasks. Those involved in the foraging type activities were given the opportunity to partake in more natural, free behaviour and their welfare improved as a result.
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