Most dog owners know the importance of mental and physical stimulation for their dogs. Treat puzzles, interesting toys and frequent walks can lessen the chances for behavioral issues. They all keep your dog motivated, interested, and stimulated. But have you stopped to think about the significance of allowing your dog to exercise their sense of smell? It is an often-overlooked way to pique your dog’s interest.
A 2019 report published in the Applied Animal Behavior Science Journal says that providing plentiful sniffing opportunities can make your dog more optimistic. If you give your dog a chance to explore its surroundings through smell, they will enjoy going on walks more. Rover will be more mentally stimulated, gain confidence, and in the end be more tired and relaxed.
They get to use their scenting abilities
A dog’s nose is 100,000 times more sensitive than ours. So strong is a canine nose that it could detect one teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized pools. Your dog’s nose is important for them to be able to communicate, explore, and evaluate. When dogs sniff their surroundings, they can learn about what other dogs were in the area before them and even what kind of mood they were in!
It can tire them out
Walks are great for tiring out your pup! So what kinds of walks are the best? Slow ones! Slow down your walk to include grassy areas and non-paved surfaces. Let your dog's powerful nose find new scents. Doing this will be much more stimulating than a quick walk with no sniff time. Giving your dog the opportunity to investigate new scents is not only a great way to tire your pup out but it also gives them a sense of freedom!
It stimulates their mind
Besides getting physical exercise from walking, your dog will also burn tons of mental energy when they get to sniff. The mental stimulation that a dog gets on a slow walk with lots of sniffing is greater than that of a frenzied walk. A sniffy walk tires a dog out from all of the analyzing that happens when taking in all the scents. As a result, you get a more relaxed and tired pup. A relaxed dog is less likely to be destructive or have problem behaviors.
If your dog enjoys working their nose, explore other chances for it to use their sniffer like our Gentle Touch Pet Training Nose Work classes. Nose Work classes are great for building your dog’s confidence and burning tons of mental and physical energy.
If you put time and effort into making your dog’s walk fun and enriching, your dog will look forward to going on walks every time! To offer them extra enrichment you can take some kibble with you on your next walk and scatter it over a safe, grassy area. Let your dog forage and sniff for the food. This activity is great for all types of dogs, even some that are less active. Your dog not only gets to have fun while looking for the food, but they also use their natural scenting abilities!
Next time you are on a walk with your dog, remember to slow down and let his nose explore. You may find you have a happier, more relaxed dog.
All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.