Scent Walks? What are they? How do they benefit my dog?
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You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.Walter Hagen, 1956
Leash walking: what does it mean to you? There are many things I hear, but most of all I hear, “I want my dog to stop pulling.” I have also heard, “I haven’t walked my dog in almost two years because I was worried they might pull me down or try to go after something.”
First off, in my blogs I will be covering 3 different types of walking you can do with your dog.
- We all have quick Potty Walks with our dogs. The hurry up, go pee because I have to go to bed or head out. Need I say more?
- We walk our dogs for Exercise Walks, because we always hear, “A tired dog is a good dog.” Physical exercise is extremely important, because dogs are not meant to be in a house all day and you may run into some behavior problems that can be prevented with a well exercised dog. Having your dog mentally stimulated is very important, as well. Scent Walks can be mentally stimulating in the form of scintillating scents. I encourage all dog owners to regularly physically exercise your dog. Every dog needs a different amount of exercise throughout the day. It may only be 30 minutes or up to 2 hours hours throughout the day.
(If you are worried about taking your dog on a walk due to its reactions to outside environments, please talk to a trainer to help you!)
- My favorite – Scent Walks! We just leisurely walk in the woods, on the sidewalk, on the beach, through a nature trail, or in a random field where my pup and I can roam around and enjoy nature. We don’t have a goal other than to “be sure to smell the flowers along that way.” Scent Walks can also be the first step of training your pup to walk nicely on a leash.
Scent Walks are beneficial for both you and your pup because there is not a destination and not a lot of pulling on leash when you have the right equipment. You both get to relax and enjoy nature.
Scent Walks are so good for your dog not only to socialize with the world, but dogs learn about the world around them with their noses. Dogs have 100x more brain cells dedicated to smell than humans. During their small sniffs around the tree trunk or bushes they can smell:
- Male or female
- Heat or not heat
- Healthy or ill
- Emotions (happy, fear, aggressive, etc)
In a way, it is like a community board and getting updates about the dogs in the neighborhood. “Looks like Fido is about 3 months and he just moved into the neighborhood and Sally is still up to her usual walks.”
Now Scent Walks do not have to be you standing at a tree trunk for ten minutes waiting for your dog. It could mean that you pause every block to stop at a light pole, a fire hydrant, or a tree and redirect them to walk nicely to the next sniff spot they choose.
Anywho, scent is how dogs see the world. Enjoy nature, enjoy your dog in nature, and let them explore through their natural senses to help mentally stimulate their brain so they can feel more confident in their neighborhood and the world at large.
- Well fitted harness – I always recommend 2-Hounds Freedom Harness, because it is fitted in every way specifically towards your dog and has both a front loop and back loop to hook your leash onto.
- 20′ leash – any quality leash of this length will do but I recommend the PetSafe Cotton Training Lead to let your dog roam free when it is safe to let them sniff. Only give your dog the amount of leash needed in tight spaces and it is a great way to start loose leash walking. Loose leash walking will be talked about in a different post so #staytuned
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Dr. Sofia Yin, DVM, MS
Inside of A Dog: What Dogs, See, Smell and Know by Alexandria Horowitz