Why you should let your dog sniff on walks.
We as humans find it easy to understand that dogs need a good amount of physical exercise to keep them happy, healthy and fit… but what about mental stimulations? Sometimes we forget that dogs need this too to keep their brains active and healthy. A way to keep your pup mentally stimulated at home is by using lots of types of mental stimulation games and activities (see our blog on Indoor boredom busters for dogs https://tomandtoto.co.uk/indoor-boredom-busters-for-dogs/ ) but what about mental stimulation out on walks?
This can easily be accomplished by simply sniffing. Sniffing is an important function for dogs leaving them with the ‘feel good’ factor. The olfactory nerves (That’s the nerves related to smell) are connected to the limbic system. Your dogs brain is a complex machine that plays a variety of roles. This part of the brain regulates the dog’s emotions from fear, rage, aggression, anxiety to joy and euphoria. It also has essential role in the learning process. That is the section of the brain where emotions are processes.
Not only is sniffing mentally stimulating, but provides them with important information about their environment. The walk with sniffing can tire them out more and make the walk more productive. You can even incorporate training techniques into their sniffing walk with trigger words like ‘Wait’, ‘Go sniff’ or ‘Sniff sniff’, ‘Walk on’ and ‘Let’s go’ to make the sniffing mentally rewarding, also it gets them to focus on you and not pulling on the lead to get to the good sniffing spot if they know the sniffing is coming.
Allowing your dog to sniff on walks gets them not only moving physically but gives them a full brain workout too.
Next time you go for a walk, take it slow and let them lead the way… and don’t forget stop to sniff the roses, or the tree, or the lamppost!
“Exercise doesn’t need to be physical. The dog’s nose is a pretty special thing. Give them plenty of opportunities to use it.” Lewis Nicholls Dog Training