Why is sniffing so important to dogs?
Often, we will find that our dogs are ‘distracted’ on their walks, sniffing their surroundings, their environment, people and other pets they may come across.
They can be so intent on sniffing, they forget to walk! We’ve all seen it – dogs will stop to sniff something on the side of the footpath. Their owners try to tug them along to continue the walk, but the dog refuses until they’re pulled down the road, sometimes their poor parents even have to pick them up! The whole point of a walk is to squeeze in some physical exercise for your dog every day – right? Partly – and we’ll tell you why.
Did you know that dogs can smell up to 1,000 times better than humans? Imagine all of the scents that you can smell in the outside world. Step outside and register the flavours that hit your nose. Really soak it in. Then imagine what you would be able to smell at A THOUSAND TIMES more. How much more intense you would find daily life? Imagine how many things your dog is able to smell that you can’t. Maybe each individual blade of grass has a different smell, and we would never be able to comprehend it. Imagine how many different scents you would smell in a five minute walk, even!
Most dog owners try to take their dogs for at least a half an hour walk, which is great for them physically. It helps to keep their bodies healthy and fit, but how about their minds? Often dogs will find it more benefical to use their brains for some hard work on their walks rather than a brisk pace. Allowing your dog to stop and sniff for as long as they like is incredibly mentally stimulating. Perhaps next time, go for a longer walk to get their daily exercise in with plenty of time to sniff, or choose a shorter route, and let your dog sniff to their heart’s content.
Many dog training companies and clubs offer what is essentially called “Sniffer School” or “Nose Work” courses. These are tailored classes to encourage your dog’s sniffing and mental stimulation with positive reinforcement.
Our favourite classes are held by Carly at Superwoofers. You can read more about Sniffer School here: https://www.superwoofers.com/classes
There are lots of fantastic options around the Greater Hobart area, and almost all of our dog training clubs offer some form of nose-work classes.