Fact or Myth: Should Dogs Sniff

behavior modification canine enrichment decompression dog adventures let them sniff May 26, 2021
Dog Training in Asheville, Nc

When I first began dog training, sniffing was taboo. I was taught to keep my dogs right beside me and make sure they "obey" every command. Five years ago, things were a lot different, and if your dog sniffed, they were corrected, or the leash got shorter. Suppose a dog does not have the proper mental enrichment like sniffing, digging, etc. This dog will start displaying behavior problems like destruction, chewing, trash can diving, all due to mental boredom. 



Yes, Dogs should be allowed to sniff.


Dogs have a fantastic sense of smell. They can take in data about the environment around them when they can sniff. A random Celiac fact is that dogs can detect as little as five ppm of gluten in food and other items. Dogs are superheroes when it comes to better hearing and smell than humans. Sniffing is mental enrichment for dogs and can help burn some mental energy. 





I am sure if you are reading this and have heard the buzzwords in the dog world are "Decompression" and "Enrichment." What does it all mean to you as a dog parent, and what changes can you start to implement?


Decompression walks are the best discovery since sliced Gluten-Free bread. Being a Celiac means regular bread is my arch enemy, and therefore would not be as exciting. Decompression walks are also known as #Sniffaris #Letthemsniff and many more. Letting your dog sniff on walks is going to help your dog's confidence and stress levels. 


A Decompression Walk Intels: 

  • Letting the dog sniff and collect intel about their surroundings. 
  • You are giving the dog the freedom to choose which way you walk.
  • Walking closer to nature or on trails, uncharted territory when you can. 
  • The more freedom you can give your dog, the better. This might not be an instant change from the sidewalk, but starting the process is the most important thing for you and your dog.  
  • Decompression walks are meant to be hands-off for the owner, so no obedience or "eh" or "no" commands. 


The point is to go slow and start with minor changes, like using a long line around the house or the backyard to get you and your dog comfortable with handling skills. 


The best part of decompression walks is that it's supposed to be RELAXING for both you and your dog—anything that causes your dog stress or becomes a trigger you should avoid on this type of walk. The whole point is to let them sniff and be mentally and physically enriching for the dog. We can not accomplish this if the dog has a panic attack at every crosswalk. 


If a decompression or sniff walk is not ideal due to your location or if your dog is leash reactive, then I suggest checking out the app called SniffSpot. This is a great way to help your dog get mental enrichment with new smells in a controlled environment. Read our review on Sniff Spot Here. 


Try taking the road less traveled, walking in the grass, taking new routes. Yes, this means you need to have waterproof shoes.


This pandemic has shown us; it's essential to get out of the house! Now go out and explore new territory with your dog.


If you love reading and want to learn more, I suggest this book.


Don't forget to email us with any questions or topics you want us to cover in our blog. If you're local to Charlotte, N.C, then schedule a phone consult with us to help your pup. 


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