The Sniff Test: How much time does your dog spend sniffing their environment?
We’re all about the sniffing here at Wholesome Canine. This highly underrated activity has far reaching health benefits, both physically and emotionally, for our beloved dogs. Dogs have such powerful noses, it’s been estimated that they’re between 100,000 and one million times more sensitive than a human nose! They gather loads of information about the world around them from the scents they encounter. If dog owners understand just how powerful sniffing is for promoting health and longevity they’d encourage it more often.
The most beneficial aspects of sniffing:
Dogs by their very nature, are curious creatures who love to explore their environments. Giving them the opportunity to engage in instinctual behaviours like sniffing and investigating, allows them to use their senses and keep their brains healthy. It’s also useful for promoting restful sleep.
Anything that challenges the brain (sniffing does a great job of that) is providing your dog with mental stimulation. This form of exercise is just as important as the physical. Lack of mental stimulation can lead to problem behaviours and a depressed dog. The brain is a muscle, and if it’s not used it will begin to decline. So it’s vital that it gets a workout too in order to decrease the chances of premature aging.
Sniffing is a vital tool when it comes to reducing stress levels. The olfactory receptors in the nose are connected directly to the limbic system in the brain, which is the emotional control centre in both humans and dogs. By giving our dogs the opportunity to sniff we are encouraging calm and relaxed behaviour that will help to maintain healthy stress levels.
A slow sniff walk allows our dogs to stretch in a healthy and gentle way that does not over exert vulnerable muscles and joints. This is especially important for senior dogs and puppies who need slow paced exercise to build stability and balance from the inside out.
Sniff walks are a great way for dogs to learn how to be social around others. The pace is slow, they have the freedom to investigate where they want and do it with others. It promotes calm behaviours and is a fantastic way for younger dogs to learn proper manners and have positive interactions with others.
Let them sniff!
When it comes time for their next walk, remember that it’s their time, not ours. Allow them to enjoy it the way they want, and need. We could all learn a valuable lesson from our pups about slowing down and being more present in our daily lives.
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