Walking your dog every day is really important for their mental and physical wellbeing, but scenting walks for dogs are equally important which is why we need to allow them to take some time to stop and sniff the world around them.
Scenting is in their DNA
The part of a dog’s brain that processes smell is 40 X larger than ours and they have over 250 million receptors compared to our 5 million.
Allowing them to stop and sniff provides them with a lot of information about their environment and can identify other animals, the presence of food or potential prey, and even the emotional state of other dogs or humans, which makes scenting walks for dogs an important part of their daily routine.
Physical benefits of scenting walks for dogs
Allowing your dog to stop and sniff provides sensory enrichment as they experience a wide range of scents and odors, this also mentally stimulates them, helping to stop boredom, while also keeping them mentally sharp and engaged.
It can also have a calming effect on dogs as it releases endorphins, the feel good hormone, so can help to reduce stress and anxiety and helps them to feel more comfortable and confident in their surroundings.
Even if you both enjoy keeping fit with a jog or power walk, adding a scenting walk into your dog’s daily routine really will have a number of additional positive effects on their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Let your dog know what kind of walk it will be
If you want to let your dog know before you step out the door whether it’s going to be a fast-paced or a leisurely stroll kind of walk, you can use a different collar or lead depending on what activity you are going to do. If you are consistent, your dog will soon learn what the different lead or collar you bring out means in terms of what happens next.
The Flexi retractable leads are great for slow walks, and while some other brands tend to jam or get knotted easily, the Flexi leads are German engineered and have a smooth split second breaking system should you need to stop your dog in its tracks for safety reasons.
Accessories include a LED lighting system for night walks and a multi-box for your poo bags or treats. They are also available in a tape or cord option, with a range of sizes and lead lengths.
While retractable leads are not suitable for obedience training or when visiting busy areas or dog parks, they are certainly great to use on scenting walks for dogs.
If you want some other fun activities to tap into your dog’s sense of smell, besides scenting walks for dogs, try the Treat Treasure Hunt or scatter feeding their food around the place to make them work for their treats or meal instead of just feeding it to them in a bowl (particularly good if you feed your dog kibble).
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog