Why Allow Dogs to Sniff?
It may seem obvious that letting dogs sniff is enjoyable for them, but it is also one of the best ways we can enrich their lives. You will find that better behavior at home is one of the huge benefits of sniffing for dogs.
For energetic dogs, it calms them and helps them focus their minds. Allowing dogs to sniff slows down their pace and creates an atmosphere of relaxation. Sniffing exercises their brain in a way that playing or running does not. This helps reduce problem behaviors such as excessive barking or destructive chewing.
For shy and anxious dogs, it helps build confidence and security. By encouraging our shy pups to explore the world through scent, they are able to find comfort in a slower paced activity and learn about the world from an unfamiliar perspective. They gain security in knowing that they are capable of exploring new environments safely with their noses as their guides. Helping improve confidence is one of the best benefits of sniffing for dogs.
For distracted dogs, it can help them better focus during training. When dogs understand what smells are good and bad, they can use this knowledge during training sessions to better determine which activities they should engage in versus which they should pass by. When we give our pups clear strategies for understanding when something is worth investigating (with smell) or completely ignoring (by leaving it alone), it makes our overall job much easier!
How to Let Dogs Sniff
There are several different ways we can allow our pups regular opportunities for sniffing:
On your daily walks with your pup, allow him extra time (up to five minutes depending on his size!) with his nose on the ground so he can take in all those exciting smells. You don’t need to go anywhere special – just around your neighborhood or local park! This way you can ensure he’s getting plenty of exercise while also giving him an opportunity for mental stimulation through sniffing.
Instead of just dumping out his food bowl or having him eat out of a toy/puzzle, scatter-feed him instead! Place treats around the house or yard that he must “find” before he’s allowed to eat them – this will encourage him even more keenly than just allowing him free rein over his food bowl! I like to use my dogs food or any treats they like and hide them on my outside patio. Start by putting 10-20 treats to find around pots, furniture legs, under and around rocks, and around the perimeter of my home. I suggest you don’t put them around areas you don’t want your dogs in. I would not put them around a pool or near the trash for instance.
Scent Work (Find the Smell):
This activity is great if you have some extra time on your hands because man trailing requires patience from both the dog handler and pup alike! Basically, you hide a treat somewhere in your home or yard that your pup must locate using only his nose – watch out though because sometimes pups get pretty creative when trying to figure out how best to locate these hidden goodies! Bonus points if you have access to different scents as well!
Why Do Puppies Sniff So Much?
Puppies love sniffing because it is part of how they learn about the world around them – just like humans rely heavily on sight for gathering information, pups depend upon smelling certain objects/scents in order for them to understand elements such as danger versus safety. Additionally, puppies also enjoy using their sense of smell as a form of play which helps stimulate physical movement! It’s no wonder then why these little guys are always nosing around corners like hound-dogs searching for prey.
So there you have it folks – letting your pup do some serious sniffing is one surefire way to ensure an enriched life full of all sorts of fun experiences! Not only does it provide mental stimulation but increased physical activity too – two things I would never deny my own fur-babies 😉 With such positive outcomes associated with allowing your pup regular olfactory adventures, why wouldn’t you take advantage of the huge benefits of sniffing for dogs? Lastly, here at OC Canine Coaching we are dedicated professionals who know exactly what techniques and tricks create amazing pooches so don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email.
Be Well and Wag Tail!