A dogs nose is a-ma-zing and it's capabilities are truly mind boggling! It is their most important sense and when they are using their nose it makes them happy and more optimistic. Getting your dog to use their nose is hugely important as this is the most natural behaviour in the world for your dog!
Your dog sees the world through their nose and allowing your dog to sniff helps them connect with the world around them. When you take your dog out and about, go for mooching sniffy walks and let them check their "pee mail" often, so they keep up to date with the local news.
It is so incredibly important that they are able to sniff and explore with their noses, otherwise it's like us going for a walk blindfolded. Sniffing and exploring is incredibly important for a dog's mental wellbeing, so when you are walking make sure you allow for plenty of "go sniff" breaks so they can investigate and sort scents. Allowing them to explore at their own pace and let them stay on a scent for as long as they need to will avoid frustration and mean that they really enjoy their sniffing!
Playing nosework games, doing scentwork training and taking "Sniffari" walks are a great option for all dogs - pups, oldies, dogs in recovery, anxious dogs, reactive dogs and over excited dogs. All breeds of dog, from pugs to pointers, can benefit from these and these activities really help to calm a dog, help them feel happier and tire them in a good way. As a result dogs are more likely to chill out, relax and nap and are less likely to engage in unwanted behaviours.
Other benefits of nosework activities to your dog:
- They are fun and rewarding
- They fulfil natural instincts
- They help build up a dog's confidence
- They provide mental stimulation
- They provide something positive to focus on around distractions
- They provide a low impact activity suitable for all dogs
- They tire dogs out but in a lovely way
The benefits to us:
- It improves our relationship with our dog
- A tired dog = a happy dog
- They will be less likely to find their own hobby and engage in unwanted behaviours
- They will be less likely to engage in destructive behaviour
- They are an easy, cheap and fun activity to do at home and on the walk
Some amazing nose facts for you:1. Dogs can breathe in and out at the same time - so they are able to smell 100% of the time unlike humans who only smell as they breathe in.
2. A dog could pick up the scent of a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic sized swimming pool.
3. Humans have around 5 million scent receptors in their nose, whereas dogs have up to 300m depending upon their breed.
4. Every dogs nose is unique and has and their 'nose print' is thought to be as individual as our finger prints.
5. Dogs can smell up to 100,000 times better than us.
6. Dogs use each nostril independently when they are sniffing which means they smell in 3D.
7. The % of the brain that is devoted to analysing scent is 40 times bigger in a dog than a human.
8. Inside the nose of both humans and dogs is a spongy membrane containing scent receptors and nerves. When laid out flat this is the size of a postage stamp in a human while in a dog it is the size of an A4 sheet of paper!
So maybe now you see that a dogs nose and ability to smell is far more important than any of their other senses and just how vital sniffing is to your dog for their mental wellbeing. In addition to lots of sniffing when out and about, there are quick and easy nosework games you can do at home every day to really make your dog's day. Check out our next blog post to find out more.