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Why You Should Let Your Dog Sniff 

11th August
As we take a stroll through the local park, it is common to see many dog owners getting impatient and frustrated by their dogs stopping to sniff. So, when you tug your dog away to continue your walk, remember that sniffing has a huge benefit for your dog.

Going for a walk is one of life’s little joys and it gives us a chance to experience the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. As we soak up these sensory experiences, we can forget that our dogs are also exploring the world around them and discovering their surroundings through their remarkable noses.

In fact, dogs’ noses are the primary way in which they navigate their environment and we must allow them to enrich their everyday life by having a good sniff! Let’s learn more about the benefits of letting our four-legged friends snuffle to their heart’s content.

beagle on a lead sniffing the ground

Benefits of Letting Your Dog Sniff 

Let Your Dog Be A Dog 

Sniffing is one of the best and easiest ways to let your dog be themselves and participate in ‘species-type’ behaviour. Dogs, as a species, have an incredible olfactory system, which is just the scientific way of saying the bodily system used for smelling. It is the primary means by which they learn and gather information about the world. 

Manages Their Behaviour 

A bored dog can result in a lot of behavioural problems and issues at home. Allowing your dog have a sniff is a great way to work their brain, plus all that enrichment will help your dog feel satisfied and more relaxed. Sniffing can also help to relieve stress in dogs, and by activating the reward centre of a dog’s brain, it helps reduce their heart rate, calm their nervous system and release those feel-good endorphins.

Give Your Dog the Ability to Communicate 

Sniffing is a huge part of how your dog communicates. You may get embarrassed when your dog automatically seems to head towards sniffing another dog’s bottom when they first meet. For dogs, however, this is a vital greeting similar to when we shake hands; they are getting to know the other dog’s distinctive smell. Sometimes sniffing can be a sign of diffusing a situation. If your dog is trying to show another dog that they’re not a threat to them, they may begin sniffing the ground. Allowing your dog to do this can help to relax both dogs. 

two dogs greeting nose to nose

Are you struggling to fit sniffing time into your walks? We have found some great scent games to get your dog sniffing at home.

Find It:

Hide some strong-smelling treats around the room and invite your dog to ‘Find It’. Letting them sniff out these treats will allow your dog to use their magical nose and get rewarded for their hard work. Try to avoid helping them if you can, so they can really put that nose to the test. 

Foraging for Food:

By scattering treats over a safe, non-distracting, grassy environment and allowing your dog to forage for the food with their nose naturally, you can create an easy and inexpensive way to let your dog sniff. Snuffle mats are great on cold or rainy days. Have a look at this tutorial on how to make a DIY Snuffle Mat from Battersea Cat’s and Dog’s Home

Follow Your Nose:

When we take our dog for a walk, we tend to decide the route and expect them to follow. Why not switch up the dynamic and let your dog take the lead? Allow them to sniff out a route of their own and follow the smells they find interesting and engaging. When you see the joy it brings them, I am confident that you will be happy to let them sniff. It is also a great reminder that it is not always about the destination, the journey is important too. 

grey dog eating kibble out of hand

Letting your dog sniff around also has huge benefits for you! It allows you to slow down, be present and gain empathy as you see the world through your dog’s nose. Over time, these moments can help create trust between you and deepen your bond. 

It is important that you take the time to let your dog investigate the world around them through their nose. 

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