By: Melissa Kolmar, CPDT-KA, SBA
Those of you who have spent, oh, ten minutes with me, know I love a good sniff walk for your dog. Sniffing is incredibly mentally enriching and is usually more enriching than the physical movement of the walk.
The dog’s sense of smell is their primary sense and when they sniff, they take in information about the world around them (think of how you see the world). Through smelling where another dog urinated or defecated, they can find out whether the dog was male or female, was the dog altered, ill, stressed, etc. Not to mention all the other great smells out there!
A recent field study in France found sniffing actually lowers a dog’s pulse, and the more intense the sniffing, the lower the pulse. In fact, the pulse lowered even if the dog continued moving! What a reaffirming study!
Sniffing is vital for our dogs. We have seen shy dogs become more confident, reactive dogs learn there are other choices they can make, and exuberant dogs find calm. Next time your dog wants to sniff that pole for a solid minute, let them! Remember, they smell the way we see. Imagine they are taking in an art exhibit, watching a favorite TV show or another similar activity you would enjoy.