Dogs love sniffing, their nose is 100 million times more sensitive than the human nose and recent research has discovered they can even detect heat![i]
They can detect diseases from Covid-19 to Parkinson’s and can be trained to search for anything from explosives to SIM cards.
Sniffing allows dogs to explore the world around them and allowing them do this behaviour is extremely important for their well-being. All too often owners can be seen pulling their dog away from a scent because they are rushing to get to the park or home, but in reality talking your dog on a walk with no destination, just so they can sniff at their own leisure is great for their mental health.
Sniffing is thought to be a calming activity that can help reduce anxious or hyperactive behaviour. It can help to build your dog’s confidence and can tire some dogs out much more than physical activity. What’s more there are now scentwork or nosework clubs and trainers to help you harness the power of the nose! If you get really hooked you might even look at entering a trial and compete with your dog as a team.
Photo credit: Under the Elm Tree Photography by Sian Thomas
Scentwork teaches your dog to search for specific odours in a variety of objects, environments and situations, usually ending in a reward of a treat or a game with a toy for finding the scent. It is a great activity for young puppies and older dogs because it is very low impact on their joints, but all breeds and ages can take part.