Why you should let your greyhound sniff 

Oct 24, 2023 | Greyhound care

Are you guilty of hurrying your pooch along when they stop to sniff on their walk? Many of us would have to put our hand up and admit guilt, unaware of the incredible benefits our pooches get from simply spending time sniffing. In this article we will outline why sniffing is so beneficial for our hounds, and why a sniffari rather than a walk measured in kilometres may be just what the dogtor ordered.

Let them sniff - greyhound with head in bush

What are the benefits of sniffing for our hounds?

A dog’s sense of smell is quite an amazing thing. 

“Instead of checking out the sights or enjoying the view, a dog’s primary way of experiencing and finding joy in their world comes by way of their nose. To a dog, smell is everything,” says Mikkel Becker, a dog behavior consultant, in this article by Daily Paws.

It is how our hounds, or any breed for that matter, experience the world. It’s how they learn about a place, the environment and everything in it. Sniffing gets their brain working, empowers them by helping them to feel more comfortable in a space and to essentially choose their own adventure. It is calming, provides stress relief, and is a great decompression tool. 

“They possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared to about six million in ours and the part of their brains that analyses and processes scents is (proportionally) 40 times greater than ours”, as stated in this article about sniffing by Purina.

With all these benefits to be had from a simple sniff, it’s no surprise we highly recommend either taking your greyhounds on a sniffari or simply letting them take the time to sniff.

How do I take my greyhound on a Sniffari? 

A sniffari is simple. As this article by Outward Hound explains, “the general idea is to provide your dog with the opportunity to take the lead over where they walk, to not be pulled along, and to get to sniff and explore as much as they want.”

All you need to do is find a safe space, the more things to sniff the better! It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a new area, as there will always be plenty of things for your dog to sniff on their regular walking loop. We do however recommend staying away from any areas they find stressful. Let them sniff for as long as they want, only moving when they choose to. 

You can take it one step further and scatter some treats for them to sniff out, ensuring you are in a clean space with nothing nasty they can eat up off the ground. It might even be a good time to practise the ‘leave it’ cue, with a high value reward when they stop sniffing and focus on you. 

And that’s it! Enjoy this precious time with your hound and revel in all that they will be learning. Remember, five minutes of sniffing can be as valuable as a half hour walk, so let them sniff! 

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