To Sniff or Not to Sniff

Husky dog on walking path - Dog walks and sniffingBy Michele L. Meyer

Sniffing provides much information and mental stimulation for our dogs. It is like their daily newspaper and allows them to gather important information about their environment. A perfect example of this would be if your dog was lost, could he find his way back home? Therefore, you SHOULD allow your dog to sniff on the walk.

You can either choose to allow your dog to sniff anything he wants as long as it is on his side and he does not pull you to get there or you can choose to only allow him to sniff when you say it is okay. If you choose this option, then periodically along the walk you should stop, have your dog sit, and then give a release command such as “go sniff” to allow him his sniffing time. He will not know what this means at first, so you will have to bring him into the grass/sniff area and encourage him to sniff. You can follow him during this free time however do not allow him to pull you. Once you decide the sniffing time is over, tell your dog “let’s go” and resume the walk. 

Dogs are explorers by nature and variety is the spice of life, so be sure to vary the paths you walk with your dog. Most canine behavior problems develop from dogs not getting enough physical exercise or mental stimulation. In addition, dogs are more likely to pull on the walk when they know exactly where you are going. Changing directions and paths often can help teach your dog to pay more attention to you. Please contact us if you need help training your dog to walk nicely on a leash.