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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Why Do Dogs Sniff, Sniff & Sniff

Dogs with their extraordinary sense of smell live in a world where scents speak louder than words. Have you ever thought about why your dog loves to sniff every nook and cranny during walks? In order to understand your dogs desire to sniff you need to know the reasons behind this behavior. By understanding the significance of providing opportunities for their sniffing adventures is the key to turning a simple walk into an enriching experience, like a "sniffari."


Communication and Exploration: Dogs use their sense of smell to communicate with the world around them. Every sniff is like reading the newspaper and with each smell your dog is able to interpret information about their environment, other animals, and even the passage of time.

Emotional Well-Being: Sniffing is a natural way to relieve stress for dogs. Sniffing helps them relax and navigate through various situations, acting as a form of mental stimulation that contributes to their overall emotional well-being. You may see this often with a dog who is fearful or unsure of a situation, this is called displacement sniffing. This behavior serves as a way for the dog to divert their attention from the source of stress and, in some cases, to self-soothe.

Identification and Memory: Dogs have a remarkable ability to remember scents. By sniffing, they can identify familiar scents, including those of other animals, people, or even specific locations. This aids in memory recall and recognition.

Sensory Enrichment: The act of sniffing provides dogs with sensory enrichment. It engages their brains, much like solving a puzzle, and helps keep them mentally sharp.


Physical Exercise: Providing your dog with the chance to indulge in sniffing during walks goes beyond mental stimulation; it's a form of physical exercise as well. Sniffing engages your dog's entire body, offering a low-impact workout that contributes significantly to their overall health. This activity is especially beneficial for older dogs who may not be as physically active or are restricted due to health reasons.

Mental Stimulation: A sniff-filled walk is mentally stimulating for dogs. It prevents boredom, reduces stress, and alleviates anxiety, contributing to a happier and more balanced canine companion.

Opportunities for Bonding: Going on a sniffari creates opportunities for you and your dog to bond. Your dog associates you with positive experiences, reinforcing your bond and making walks an enjoyable activity for both of you.


Choose Dog-Friendly Routes: Opt for areas that allow your dog to explore a variety of scents. Parks, nature trails, and open spaces are ideal for creating a sensory-rich environment.

Use a Longer Leash: Equipping your dog with a 30 ft leash offers them the freedom to explore, providing a sense of liberty while ensuring they stay securely by your side. This extended leash allows them to follow scents without feeling constrained, elevating the overall experience of your sniffari adventures.

Understanding and embracing your dog's need to sniff is not just about accommodating their instincts; it's about enhancing their overall well-being. Turning a simple walk into a sniffari allows your dog to exercise their senses, promotes mental stimulation, and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. So, next time you head out for a walk, let your dog take the lead, and explore together!

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