Dog Walks Are For Sniffing

March 11, 2024
By: Adriana Valle

From European dogs that walk near open-air cafés hoping to find some lone frites on the ground to dogs in China strutting around in designer fashions, dogs are walked all over the world. Some dogs are walked when other means of transportation are neither available nor convenient. Other dogs are walked because they need to release energy in a way that only walks and hikes can accomplish. And, all dogs use walks to go potty and move their bodies. But, no matter the reason for the dog walk, dog walks are for sniffing; at least, from a dog’s perspective.

Dog Walks are for sniffing: discovery

Compared to our measly 6 million scent receptors, dogs boast a whopping 300 million! Their incredible sense of smell makes a dog’s world a smorgasbord of fascinating scents. Each sniff is like reading a newspaper; it tells a dog who’s been around (think doggy social media), what kind of food might be lurking or may have been consumed in the area, and even the presence of other creatures in the vicinity.

Dog Hiking Dog Walking Professional Dog Walking & Pet Sitting in Old Saybrook, Essex, Ivoryton, Centerbrook, Deep River, Chester, Westbrook, Clinton, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Niantic, Lyme, Madison, Waterford, Groton, Uncasville, Gales Ferry, New London, Mystic & Noank

Because sniffing allows dogs to discover their environment, let them lead while on walks. When possible, safe, and time-appropriate, give your dog some freedom to explore interesting scents. While holding your leash, slow your pace, stop walking, and watch as your dog sniffs the grass, rocks, fallen leaves, etc. Especially this time of year, our environment is changing every day; let your dog take in the Connecticut Shoreline’s spring blooms, increased moisture, and changing season. Let your dog discover the world outside your home and yard by letting them stop to sniff when they feel so inspired.

Dog Walks are for sniffing: MENTAL stimulation

Dogs are often confined to our homes, forced to adjust to our schedules, routines, etc. When on a dog walk or hike, sniffing offers dogs the mental stimulation that many companion dogs are lacking. Sniffing on walks keeps dogs engaged and prevents monotony. Furthermore, sniffing on dog walks can reduce stress and anxiety, making dogs happier and calmer when they get back indoors.

To optimize mental stimulation on your next sniff-focused dog walk, change up your route. Because new environments bring new smells, sights, and sounds, consider exploring different streets, sidewalks, parks, and neighborhoods. Changing up your route will keep your dog’s nose busy and engaged while providing lots of mental stimulation and enrichment. Most pet dogs today don’t get enough enrichment. Similarly, most humans don’t spend enough time outside in nature. A sniff-fest dog walk is a great way to enjoy the benefits of walking, fresh air, and exercise together!

Dog Walks are for sniffing: connection

Sniffing is a natural behavior for dogs. Allowing dogs to sniff on walks boosts their overall sense of enjoyment and well-being by allowing them to connect with nature and their biology. Sniffing also allows dogs to just be dogs – taking in information from their environment, peeing here and there, pooping in just the right spot to mark their territory, etc. While we take these things for granted, canids love to walk and gather information from their environment. Wild dogs walk for miles each day and protect their young and other members of their families by maintaining visual, auditory, and olfactory control of their environment.

To help your dog connect with his canine instinct and with nature, ditch the time pressure and let your dog sniff at their own pace. Whether it’s on one long walk a day or various short walks per day, find a minute or longer to allow your dog the pleasure of interacting with his or her environment by sniffing. Allow your dog the opportunity to decipher the world around him. Embrace the sniff, and you’re sure to have a happier dog, one that feels connected to both you and themselves.

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At Shoreline Happy Paws, we love to see the dogs in our care take it all in during dog walks and hikes. For this reason, we allow dogs to sniff while we explore. The beauty of a well-done dog walk or hike is that it blends a dog’s biological needs to do their business with their desire to enjoy the outdoors, connect with nature, and be a dog.

If your schedule does not allow for daily dog walks that allow for sniffing and enrichment or would like to sign your dog up for our extended dog hiking services, we’re happy to help! New Shoreline Happy Paws clients can create an account. We will be in touch to further discuss your needs and set you, your family, and your pet(s) up for success. Existing clients may book dog walking, dog hiking, or pet sitting services by logging in to your client profile.

Shoreline Happy Paws serves the following areas of the Connecticut Shoreline:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

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