Dogs explore the world with their amazing noses – it’s their primary sense. The dog’s nose is truly amazing, it’s difficult to imagine how sensitive it is. However, when walking our dogs we tend to consider only the length of the walk, and rarely think about how enriching the walks are for the senses…and this can make a huge difference to your dog’s behaviour!
- The reason the nose is wet is to help capture smells
- Dogs are so good at sniffing that they can detect cancer in humans
- Medical Detection Dogs have been able to train our four-legged friends to detect Covid-19
- The canine nose has adapted to become even better at smelling by having an increased surface area
Have you ever wondered how your dog just seems to intuitively ‘know’ when a family member is due back from work? Well, this could also be down to the nose! Scientists think that dogs can tell how much time has passed by analysing how lingering smells of an owner’s presence decays throughout the day – amazing!
So, with all this considered, it is easy to understand why your dog will thank you for walking them somewhere that is exciting and enriching for their ‘sniffers’! Walking around a field of grass provides your dog with the opportunity to run and become physically tired, but it doesn’t stimulate them mentally as much as it would to explore a different type of landscape such as our woodland area.
Did you know that dogs who have more opportunity to explore and sniff on their walks are more relaxed, sleep better and are easier to live with?
Playing games on walks where the dog needs to use their nose is a great idea to entertain them, and to improve your relationship and bond. You could try hiding toys or treats in and around the wooded area for them to sniff out and find. If you have children with you, they could use their imaginations to find cracks in trees and spaces under branches to hide them. Remember not to leave any treats behind as some dogs have special diets.
You could also play hide and seek together! This is my ultimate favourite dog game to play and it never fails to make me smile. It’s a great opportunity to practice their ‘stays’ whilst I find a good hiding place. If their stay is still a work in progress, that’s OK, just ask a friend or family member to gently hold them whilst you hide. The dog will use all their senses to seek you out and they find it so rewarding when they find you.
For some dogs it’s not possible to go to public walking areas. Maybe they are worried about meeting other dogs, or maybe their recall isn’t reliable yet. Perhaps you would just like your own privacy to enjoy a space all to yourself. This is where a bookable, secure area is a great option.
So, put your boots on and bring your dog along to Lions Den Dog Field and see how much fun they have sniffing and exploring the different natural landscapes available to them. It’s a sure thing that they will have lots of fun and need a good sleep afterwards.