Sniff Walks – Letting Your Dog’s Nose Know  

| January 6, 2023

Dogs explore the world through their noses. According to the American Kennel Club, a dog’s nose is 100,000 times more sensitive than a human nose. As such, our dogs can notice, understand, and appreciate smells they encounter in ways that humans with our limited scent abilities can barely comprehend. 

The act of smelling and exploring not only allows our dogs to get information about new places, but it is also very stress-relieving. Often our dog walks have two purposes — to stretch their legs and to use the bathroom. While these walks are important, dog walks can be mentally stimulating as well. Sniff walks give our dogs the opportunity to take the lead on their own adventures and better process the environment around them.  

How to Take a Sniff Walk

A scent walk changes the focus of the walk from miles covered to odors logged. Instead of having a specific destination, the route of a scent walk changes as your dog absorbs and processes the scents along the way. 

It’s easy to take a scent walk – set off on a path, and when your dog stops for a sniff, let them. If you are fully engaged, which means putting the phone away, you’ll be able to tune into what your dog is doing and understand how much they enjoy having the freedom to sniff to their heart’s content.  

You’ll also likely gain new insights into your dog’s behaviour when you take a scent walk. “There are a couple dogs’ urine that I can identify simply by my dog’s response,” shares Louise Lawrence, Certified Dog Trainer at Toronto Humane Society. “If we pass a house where one of her friends’ live, or used to live, she’ll slow her pace, sniff the air, look longingly at the door, then move on.” 

Next time you take your dog out for a walk, slow things down and let them stop and smell the roses—or that irresistible bush that every dog likes to leave their mark on. Sniffing is how your dog processes the world and taking the time to let them sniff it out will leave them happier and more relaxed.  

Need Training Assistance? We Can Help 

Through humane, compassionate, trust-building exercises, our certified training professionals work to strengthen the bond you have with your animal. In a group setting or one-on-one, we strive to provide you and your dog with the tools needed to live your best life together. Visit our Training and Behaviour page to get started.