Fenced-in yards are convenient and safe environments for your dogs to roam free and get some exercise. However, they should not be the only place where your dog spends time. Fenced-in yards become boring very quickly, and boredom can cause problem behaviors, including barking, digging, perimeter pacing, and escape attempts. Dogs thrive on variety and allowing them to explore different environments is beneficial to their physical and emotional health in a myriad of ways.
Smitten with Sniffs
It's no secret that we love to let dogs sniff. Smell is a dog's primary sense - they sniff to understand what's going on around them. We make our dog walking services all about your dog, and we feel that sniffing is really important for your dog's mental health and well-being. Sniffing allows dogs to gain more confidence in new environments and gives them a chance to explore their surroundings. So let dogs be dogs, and let them sniff!
“The information that every dog — the tracking dog, of course, but also the dog lying next to you, snoring, on the couch — has about the world based on smell is unthinkably rich.”
- Alexandra Horowitz
The Nose Knows
So now you understand how important sniffing is, let's talk about where to sniff! There's no point in rushing past tree trunks or fire hydrants. Set aside ample time for you to spend time walking your dog and let them have as much time as they'd like for nosing around spots you might find boring. To them, they're the most interesting things in the world! Walking routes unfamiliar to you and your dog will provide the most rewarding experiences.
Short sniffy walks are great for your dog's mental enrichment! So much so that your dog will feel more tired after a short sniffy walk than a fast-paced walk. When we hear that dogs are engaging in destructive behaviors or are tiring their pet parents out, we encourage them to let their dog sniff more. It's not just about the steps, it's about the sniff! The next time you want to go to the dog park to wear your dog out, try going for a 20-30 minute walk and let your dog lead the way, nose to the ground.
“Let them sniff.
Perhaps because we humans are so visually-centered, it's hard for us to imagine what it might be like for our primary sensory ability to be olfaction. But that's how it is for dogs: they sniff first, and ask their eyes to confirm or deny. Their world is made of scents more than sights. As a result, when they agreeably head out with you for a walk, the two of you are experiencing parallel universes: we see what's on the street; the dog smells who's passed by and who is upcoming (on the breeze). Since humans are generally averse to closely smelling things -- in fact, we find the idea of "smelling" one another funny or even rude -- some owners discourage dogs from doing that -- from sniffing one another or the traces other dogs have left. But that is the dog's whole world. I would no more pull my dog away from a street corner he is mightily investigating than I would force my son to stare at his knees as we drive by the Colosseum. Acknowledging the dogs' otherness -- and in this case, his different way of perceiving the world you share -- is a good step toward giving them the life they deserve.”
- Alexandra Horowitz