Getting out the door for daily exercise is the step in the right direction when it comes to your dog’s health and happiness, and yours, too! Elimination and exercise are important, but did you know that dogs see their world through scents? Allowing your dog to interact with their environment through their noses taps into the hundreds of millions of his scent receptors, as compared to our human six million. Dogs devote about 40 times more brain volume to decoding smells than humans!
A scent walk is easy! Put away the phone, and pay attention to your dog during your walk. You’ll understand more how much he enjoys having the freedom to sniff and gain insights into his behavior. A dog will use his smell to gain context of his environment, other humans and beings that have traveled the same route, as well as things that are abstract, like the pending weather and the passage of time.
You might even note that your dog will display less of misbehavior if he is allowed to sniff. Sniffing just makes dogs happy and actually becomes their “work!” As you take your walk, note whether your dog is a quick sniffer, eager to take in as many new scents as possible, or does he like to hunker down and smell one location with great intensity?
Use the “scent walk” as a way to teach him the difference between a typical exercise walk, or walk with other canine friends without the need to adventure and sniff the world along the way. You’ll both be happy for the experience, and probably find late-night potty trips much easier when he learns the difference of the occasional smell walk, and the walk to get his “duty” done quickly!