Sniffing is a dog's superpower!
Dogs can smell 100,000x better than we can. They can detect half a spoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool! Sounds impressive right?
Dogs have been helping us for decades by using their nose. From search and rescue, bomb and drug detection, through to medical detection. This is one reason why dogs are known universally as "mans best friend".
All breeds, no matter how big or small, active or idle, have one thing in common... A powerful nose, and they ALL LOVE to SNIFF. Yes even your dog!!
Sniffing is the one thing we don't need to train our dogs to do. Puppies are born blind, deaf and toothless. For the first few days of their life the only sensory tool they have is their nose, and smell is the one thing elderly dogs can do when they get to an age where they are struggling to walk, see and hear.
Sniffing has been scientifically proven to reduce a dogs pulse and calm a stressed dog down. DogFieldStudy. Whether you have a hyperactive dog, a shy/nervous dog or a reactive dog sniffing can help calm them down. It helps to build their confidence, increase focus and reduce anxiety. When a dogs nose is engaged in scent work, they are able to use their natural abilities to problem-solve and work through challenges.
Yet sniffing is often the main reason why dog owners call me up. "Help! my dog sniffs too much on walks", "My dog keeps stopping every two minutes to sniff a lamp-post or a tree", "When my dog is off lead they get onto a scent trail and I can't call them back". We can't deprive our dogs of their most powerful sense but we can learn to understand the reasons why they use their noses so much. And we can provide an outlet for them to use their noses in a more controlled manner, by giving them fun activities to do.
Bringing scentwork into your dogs daily life
"So what's the point in doing scent work with my dog? I'm not planning on using her as a drug detection dog!" For our dogs, scentwork is entertainment, its educational, its a big boost of self-esteem and its a job that they love to do. All those things are just as important to our dogs, as they are to us, to make them feel mentally happy.