Imagine going on a long-anticipated walk, through beautiful scenery, after you have been cooped up all day in the same place, but you have been fitted with a blind fold and are being dragged along at a fast pace.
I imagine that this is how dogs feel when we don’t allow them time to stop and sniff the environment. Dogs largely perceive their world through smell and it’s how they collect and process information and make sense of their world.
Taking away an opportunity for sniffing on a walk is not in their best interests and as much as physical exercise is important, the mental stimulation that sniffing provides is equally, if not more important.
Studies have shown that allowing dogs to spend time sniffing provides so many benefits – promoting calmness, lowering stress and anxiety levels, lowering pulse rates, preventing cognitive decline and providing mental stimulation and enrichment are just some examples.
Make time for a slow “sniffing walk”, where your dog is allowed to decide which direction to go and allowed to simply follow their nose to their noses content! It may take more patience as we wait for them to finish smelling that blade of grass, but the benefits are well worth it.