dog sniffing on walks

5 Surprising Benefits of Dog Sniffing on Walks

Updated 03/04/2024 by Ava Jaine

Walking your furry companion is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and much needed exercise for both you and your dog.  However, many dog parents may find it frustrating when their dog constantly pulls on the leash to get several good sniffs along the way.  

Instead of pulling your dog away from that interesting aroma, take a moment and let them have their sniffs.

In this blog post, we will explore the Surprising Benefits of Dog Sniffing on Walks.

dog sniffing on walks
 

Mental Stimulation

This is huge! Dogs get a healthy dose of mental stimulation through sniffing.  Your dog needs mental stimulation on a daily basis to feel content and healthy. 

Lack of mental stimulation can have adverse effects on your dog’s behavior and well-being.

It’s Exercise!

Sniffing is actually a form of exercise for dogs. It not only engages their body and mind, but it can also tire them out just as much as physical exercise.  So, to keep your pup healthy and fit, let them sniff!

dog sniffing on walks
 

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Studies have shown that when dogs sniff on a walk, it lowers their pulse rates and reduces cortisol, aka the stress hormone.
(Amaya et al., 2020; At The Heart of The Walk, n.d.)

Dog sniffing has a calming, self-soothing effect, which helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
(Zweifel et al., 2011)

Stronger Bond

Allowing your dog to sniff on walks can create a stronger bond between you and your pup.  Giving your furry friend extra patience and time to enjoy all of those wonderful scents shows them that you care, which helps them feel more connected to you.

dog sniffing on walks
 

Fun Fact: Dogs can detect pheromones and chemicals that humans can’t. This allows them to pick up on the emotional state of others.  So, when you are feeling good, that helps your dog feel good too.

Healthier Well-being

Sniffing is a natural and enjoyable behavior for dogs.  Allowing them to engage in this activity can provide them with a positive and fulfilling experience.

Dogs sniff to express themselves, explore, and gather information about their environment, such as the presence of food or other animals.

dog sniffing on walks
 

Overall, allowing your dog to sniff on walks can create a very positive and beneficial experience for both you and your furry companion. So, let your dog follow their nose!

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References

Amaya, V., Paterson, M. B. A., & Phillips, C. J. C. (2020). Effects of olfactory and auditory enrichment on the behaviour of shelter dogs. Animals: An Open Access Journal from MDPI, 10(4), 581.

At the heart of the walk. (n.d.). Dog Field Study. 

Zweifel, L. S., Fadok, J. P., Argilli, E., Garelick, M. G., Jones, G. L., Dickerson, T. M. K., Allen, J. M., Mizumori, S. J. Y., Bonci, A., & Palmiter, R. D. (2011). Activation of dopamine neurons is critical for aversive conditioning and prevention of generalized anxiety. Nature Neuroscience, 14(5), 620–626.

Duranton, C., Horowitz, A. (2019). Let me sniff! Nosework includes positive judgment bias in pet dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science.