Do you take your pup on scent walks? They can be a great way for you and your doggo to bond as well as give their brain some much needed exercise.
There are different purposes for walks with your pup. Sometimes it’s just a quick “Let’s go potty before I leave” walk. Walks are sometimes about physically getting your dog active to help keep weight at a good level. And sometimes their walk is about running out some energy and getting them to be calm indoors. This is especially true for puppies and high energy dogs. In these cases, a scent walk may be a great option.
Scent walks are all about how many smells your pup can smell and less about the distance travelled. As a pup their best way of seeing the world is through their nose. You can take the time to take a specific scent walk with your pup or just incorporate it into your usual walks. Leaving some extra time during your walk to let your pup sniff will do wonders. We are all tempted to just tug our dog away from sniffing a spot, especially if we are in a hurry and they just stopped to smell a blade of grass 3 steps ago. Remembering to give yourself an extra couple minutes to allow for their sniffcapade on the walk could help with restlessness and destructive behaviors while you leave them alone in the house.
Sniffing a tree, pole, or plant on a walk then analyzing what kind of dog or other creature left the scent, how long ago, and other fun interpretations is a canine mental workout. Just like getting a puzzle toy for your pup the scent walks help enrich their mind and can be more tiring than a run around the block.
Allowing your dog to make the choice of what to smell also gives them a sense of self confidence. Dogs are reliant on their owners for many things in their life. Dogs are told when they can eat, when and where to go to the bathroom, and even play time is designated by us. On a scent walk if we allow them to choose what to smell and for how long they can build up confidence and a feeling of self reliance. This also contributes to stopping cognitive decline in old age and keep your dog mentally healthy for longer.
I am just as guilty as the rest of us trying to rush bathroom breaks or walks so we can get through it quicker. I have really been working on allowing Lily to enjoy her smellovision on our nightly walks lately and I think she’s really enjoying it. She is pooped when we get home most days. She is still close by though just in case you want to throw a ball across the room for her.
Have a great week!
Jess & Lily