Stop and Smell the Roses

Have you noticed while out on a walk your dog spends a great deal of time with his nose on the ground?

That is because dogs see the world through their noses. The average dog has 220 million receptors in their nose compared to the 6 million we have in ours.

When a dog sniffs the ground or another dog or a lamp post or anything at all he is gaining information such as what gender another dog is, whether that dog is healthy or not. Your dog can tell what the weather is going to be like or what time of day it is all by using his nose. Your dog will recognise your own unique scent.

Dogs also communicate through the use of urine marking. One dog leaves his urine in a prominent place and any dog coming after will immediately know all about the first dog. This scent can last days.

Owners are often appalled when their dog sniffs another dog’s butt. In fact, this is a wonderfully polite gesture in dog language. Dogs do not lie, so when one dog sniffs another they are learning everything there is to know about that dog. No judgement just information.

It is no wonder that mankind has taken advantage of the dog’s amazing scent capabilities. We use dogs for bomb and drug detection, airport security and even for detecting seizures and diabetes to name just a few scenarios.

All that sniffing and decoding of scents uses a lot of mental energy. A slow sniff walk can be very tiring for a dog. Although dogs do need physical exercise the need for mental stimulation is just as important to a dog’s well-being. Taking a dog for a walk and not allowing them to sniff is like wearing a blindfold to watch the view!

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