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Should You Let Your Dog Sniff On Walks? (Plus How Long?)

Dogs are awesome to keep you happy, healthy and fit. With daily dog walks, you will both be able to benefit from many advantages! There are a lot of reasons why you should exercise with your dog every day. However, these pooches aren’t always easy to walk with. Does your buddy sniff on walks? 

Dog Sniff During Walk

That’s probably your case, and it’s normal for these animals to do so. I’ve always questioned myself about that habit to sniff everything while walking, so I did some research. Dogs have up to 300 million olfactive receptors in their noses, compared to around 6 million for humans!

That’s impressive how good they can be to analyze smells. With that information, you can understand dogs like to sniff things around them. Nonetheless, should you let your dog sniff on walks? If yes, how long should you allow him to use his overdeveloped sense of smell?

Yes, you should let your dog sniff on walks. Walking is not only a good physical activity. It’s also interesting as mental stimulation for dogs. Allowing your dog to sniff on walks will entertain him mentally while analyzing particular scents. Walking with adapted sniffing is awesome to keep your dog healthy (Mental + Physical) and happy!

I’ve also found a lot of useful information about the benefits for dogs to sniff while walking. Moreover, you should also know how much you should let your dog sniff on walks. At the end of your reading, you will be able to give more freedom and mental stimulation to your dog for his happiness!

Physical And Mental Activity Needs of Dogs!

Let’s determine what are the needs of stimulation. As you probably know, walking is very important especially for high-energy dogs. They will require a lot of exercise time to stay active and improve their general well-being!

The physical and mental activity needed for your dog will depend on many things such as his breed, health, etc. However, daily walks are always ideal to provide every dog with enough physical and mental entertainment!

Exercise Requirements of Dogs!

Even lazy companions will need some physical activity to stay in good shape. In general, most dogs need around 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. Canine activities such as walking, running, swimming, playing fetch and many other things can be good to spend your buddy’s energy!

Dog On Leash Ready To Walk

Daily walks are simple, accessible, and efficient, that’s why it’s so important to not neglect them. This could be awesome to provide proper exercise to your dog regularly!

Mental Stimulation For Dogs!

Most dog owners rarely care about their companion’s mental activity requirements. Often they do it or neglect this need without even knowing it. Nonetheless, mental stimulation is as important as physical activity!

The difference is only that the consequences of insufficient mental exercise take more time to be visible. Letting your dog sniff while on walks could be interesting to start giving him more mental stimulation!

Why Do Dogs Sniff During Walks?

With their ability to analyze smells 40 times better than humans, dogs use their nose for many things. For example, if you walk in a new place, your buddy could sniff things to know what other dogs have already passed here!

These animals don’t have cell phones or the internet to find every information they need. Therefore, they use their impressive sense of smell to understand useful things about the world!

Dog Walk Sniff Tree

When you have a lack of certain senses, you will need others to compensate. Dogs don’t have good eyes like humans, so they rely on their nose. While these furry animals smell they will need some time. Even if they can detect scents more than 10 000 times more efficiently than us, they still need some sniff to analyze and interpret the smells!

During walks, dogs process hundreds of scents that humans can’t, even on familiar trails. With their innate instinct of curiosity, that’s normal for them to sniffing around and explore the environment!

Should You Let Your Dog Sniff While Walking?

Yes, this is a good way to make daily walks more interesting for your dog. Moreover, that’s also a simple solution to avoid boredom with mental entertainment. Dogs love to sniff things as much as humans like to look at them!

Dog Sniff While Walking

So, it’s essential to not restrict them to explore and smell around him. Letting your dog sniff on walks is perfect to make his brain work a little bit and make him happier!

Another benefit of «Scent Walks» is to simply let more freedom to your dog. Having the possibilities to choose something is always fun. Pets rarely decide what they can do or not. Their owners tell them when to walk, sit, poop, exercise, play, etc.

Giving them more freedom on walks can prevent anxiety, stress, and depression. There are no good reasons to not give some time for your dog to enjoy sniffing around!

How To Allow Your Dog To Sniff The Right Way?

Too much control on your dog can be bad for him. Sniff walks could help him develop self-confidence and improve his mental well-being. This simple action can be enough to give more freedom to your buddy and make him happier. However, you need to keep control of your dog. That means you should always allow him to sniff before he does it! 

How To Keep The Control On Scent Walk?

The first step is to master «Dog Walking» without allowing your dog to sniff. At the start, it’s not the best idea to give too much freedom. After some dog walking experience, you could start to reward your furball with more freedom. You could also use a voice cue such as «Sniff» or «Free time». Here’s a simple process to let your dog sniff on walks the right way!

  1. Master Dog Walking. (Loose-Leash)
  2. Start Rewarding Your Dog With Freedom or Sniff.
    1. Stop During Your Walk.
    2. Make Your Dog Sit.
    3. Use a Command. (Optional)
    4. Allow Him To Sniff Around.
    5. Continue To Walk.
  3. Try Dog Walk With a Few Sniff Time.
  4. Try Dog Walk With a Lot Of Sniffing.
  5. Do Other «Dog Walks» With Different Levels Of Freedom.
  6. Find The Perfect Freedom To Give To Your Dog On Walks!

How Long Should You Let Your Dog Sniff On Walks?

Freedom can be very good for your dog’s health and happiness. Nevertheless, don’t let your dog sniff longer than he walks every day. Sometimes it could be OK to let him discover new places!

Normally, you should keep in mind that the goal is to have physical and mental activity. Therefore, you will need to find the right balance with trial-and-error!

Dogs Walk And Sniff

Keep in mind to let your dog sniff regularly especially in new territories. You will see that some things are very tempting for dogs!

If your furry friend wants to sniff something, allow him to do it with control. Freedom is an efficient way to reward him for being good and make him enjoy your daily walks!

So, How Much To Let Your Dog Sniff On Walks?

It will depend on many elements that you can’t always control. Some dogs love to sniff more than others. It could be because their sense of smell is more developed or simply because they are more curious!

Nonetheless, it’s always interesting to give more mental stimulation or sniffing time possible on walks. If your dog wants to sniff a tree for five minutes and you have the time, you should let him have fun! (There’s an article more detailed on Dogtime blog about this topic!)

6 Tips To Master Dog Walking!

Bulldog Ready To Walk
  • Don’t Let Your Dog Pull!
  • Use A Short Leash! (Not a Retractable or Long Leash.)
  • Reward Your Dog While Running! (Treats, Toys, Freedom, etc.)
  • Give You Enough Time To Enjoy Your Walk! (No Stress.)
  • Be Careful With Extreme Temperatures! (Hot and Cold.)
  • Give Enough Water To You Dog!
  • Etc.

Walking With Your Dog – Related Questions!

Walking with your companion isn’t very complicated, but there are a lot of questions related to dog walking. Even if you’re an experienced dog owner, some useful information could always help you. Here are some short, simple, but efficient answers to some similar questions about dog walking!

How Long Should You Walk Your Dog Every Day?

This will depend a lot on your dog’s breed, energy, and exercise needs. Some dog owners simply don’t have time for a daily walk with their buddy of 30 to 60 minutes. However, most dogs will need at least around 10 to 30 minutes of walking every day. This number can also be way more for high-energy breeds and vary depending on the other physical activities that your dog can enjoy!

Is It OK To Let Your Dog Walk In Front Of You? 

Yes, that’s not a problem if your dog is not walking behind you. Moreover, these furry animals are simply faster than us, so that’s normal if your buddy is in front of you while walking. Many people think that’s bad, but it’s OK. However, you shouldn’t let your dog be the leader or pull the leash on walks. You should master loose-leash walking to enjoy this activity!

Why Is Walking Your Dog So Important?

This is simply the best way to allow your dog to spend his energy. Moreover, it’s also very good to strengthen your bond, keep you both fit and improve your dog’s obedience. Every dog owner should walk with his companion almost every day. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be the only exercise that your pooch enjoys in his workout routine!

Other Sniffing Canine Activities Than Daily Walks!

Dog Walk Sniff

Even if your daily walks are very interesting to let your dog sniff, there are plenty of other activities, especially for that need. Moreover, it can be really interesting and fun to discover your dog’s ability to smell things. Let’s see some things different than «Scent Walks» I’ve found to allow your dog to sniff!

  • Find The Treat!
  • Pick A Hand!
  • Shell Game! (Cups Game)
  • Hide and Seek!
  • Scent Trails!
  • Puzzle Games!
  • Etc.

Some Complementary Exercises To Dog Walking!

You should be aware that simple walks are not enough for most dogs. Both for mental and physical stimulation, dogs will need more exercise than a simple walk every day!

That’s why I highly recommend you to find other canine sports or activities to enjoy. Luckily for you, I’ve done all the research. Here are some things to try with your dog in addition to your daily walks!

Large Dog Running

Physical Activities!

  • Tug of War.
  • Fetch.
  • Frisbee.
  • Tag.
  • Running.
  • Canicross.
  • Swimming.
  • Hiking.
  • Biking.
  • Play in a Sprinkler, Leaves or Snow.
  • Etc.
Dog Playing With Toys

Mental Stimulation!

  • Teach Basic Commands.
  • Teach Fun Tricks. (Rollover, Play dead, Stand up, etc.)
  • Dog Training.
  • Dog Agility.
  • Nose Work Games.
  • Obstacle Course.
  • Interactive Activities.
  • Scavenger Hunt.
  • Treat Toys.
  • Etc.

Last Thoughts About «Sniff Walks» For Dogs!

With all these ideas, you should find something to enjoy with your dog. Daily walks will keep you both in good shape and health, but that’s always fun to try new things. Remember that it’s OK to let your dog sniff on walks if you permit him to do so. Furthermore, «Sniff Walks» are awesome to give more freedom and to reward your buddy!

Dog Sniff Landscape

For active people that like to spend time with their dog, running should be a very fun activity. That’s a better way to keep you more healthy, athletic, and happy. Many other canine sports are interesting for both of you. I hope this article helps you understand your dog’s mental stimulation needs. I would love to meet you while exercising my Labrador. I wish you to have a lot of fun walking or running with your dog!