When you take your dog for a walk, you may notice that they want to stop every few minutes to sniff their surroundings. Many dog owners find this annoying, as they must stop and wait. They may find themselves pulling on their dog’s leash, as they just want to complete their walk and get back home as soon as possible. However, you should have a little patience with your dog and allow them to sniff during their walks, as sniffing is an important part of their outdoor experience. Here are the reasons why you should let your dog sniff during walks.
A Sensory Experience
When you are out for a walk, you use your eyes to take in your surroundings. You also use your other senses to get a complete sense of your surroundings. So, you might smell the flowers and fresh dew in the morning, hear the birdsong and the rustle of the trees, and touch the frost on the wall on a cold morning. Dogs build a complete sensory experience in just the same way, although the sense of smell is even more important to dogs than it is to humans. Tru Dog likens a dog walking without being able to smell as being the same as a human attempting to complete the walk in a blindfold. If your dog cannot sniff their surroundings, then they are unable to complete a full picture of their surroundings, which will spoil their experience of the walk.
While out on a walk, you may stop to talk to people, read posters on walls about the community, and see changes to the surroundings. All this is information that you use to find out about the local gossip and what is going on in the area. You should think of your dog’s sniffing as being the same as a human using a variety of sources to collect information about the local area. Your dog’s sense of smell is incredibly powerful and sensitive, much more so than that of humans. A dog’s sense of smell is unbelievably strong, and they can pick up an almost unimaginable amount of information from sniffing, says I Heart Dogs. Just from one sniff, they can tell which dogs have visited an area, the gender of the dog, and even what they have eaten.
They can also smell the different plants, whether humans they know have been in a spot recently, and if there are other species, such as cats nearby. Dogs use their sniffing not only to seek out the local gossip but also use it to identify potential mates and as a warning of enemies. Sniffing is a natural dog behavior, and it is how dogs make sense of their surroundings and learn as much as they can about the landscape, people, and animals in the location. In the wild, dogs also use this information to identify potential threats and dangers.
You should not forget that sniffing during walking gives your dog mental stimulation, says The Spruce Pets. All dogs need mental stimulation, and it is just as important as giving your dog enough physical exercise. There are some fantastic puzzles and games for dogs that offer them mental stimulation. However, you should not overlook the benefits of the natural stimulation a dog can get during their walks, and sniffing is a vital element of this mental stimulation. Exploring new surroundings is an excellent way of stimulating your dog mentally, and one of the ways that dogs explore the outdoors is through sniffing. Smelling their surroundings and gathering information from what they smell is a crucial aspect of your dog making the most of their time outdoors. To maximize the potential for your dog’s mental stimulation, you should change your walking routine regularly and visit new places. Doing so will give your dog the opportunity for new experiences, as each location will have different smells.
Freedom and Emotional Wellbeing
While a dog is at home, their sensory experiences are limited by their surroundings. It means they often only experience the same smells every day. Taking them out for walks and allowing them to sniff their new surroundings gives your dog a sense of freedom. Remember that walks give your dog a change from their home surroundings, so allowing them some freedom is good for their emotional wellbeing. Just think of how miserable you would feel if you were sat at home all the time, and how good it makes you feel to get out and about, seeing new things and enjoying new experiences.
Although there are reasons to allow your dog to sniff that relate to their physiology, you should not underestimate something as simple as the enjoyment that it gives your dog. Not only is it a natural behavior, but it is also something that they enjoy. By preventing them from sniffing during their walks, you are removing one of the main elements of their enjoyment of their time outdoors. If you are not in a hurry, have a little patience, and allow your dog to sniff so they can fully enjoy their experience.
The Final Verdict – The Reason You Should Let Your Dog Sniff During Walks
Many dog owners get frustrated when their dog repeatedly stops to sniff during their walks. However, it is natural dog behavior and not something that you should discourage. There are several reasons why you should allow your dog to sniff during walks. It is an important part of their sensory experience, and it is how they collect information about their surroundings, other animals, and any potential dangers. Sniffing is also about giving your dog mental stimulation. Furthermore, sniffing gives your dog pleasure and enjoyment. Therefore, you should have a little patience and allow your dog to sniff their surroundings when you take them out on their walks.