If your dog has been constantly sniffing things, on walks, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog sniff things on walks? Possible reasons why your dog sniffs things, on walks, are that it is gathering information about things such as what other animals have been around, it is curious and that its sense of smell makes up for areas where it lacks in vision.
Since there are a number of reasons why your dog might have been sniffing things a lot on walks, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog sniffs a lot on walks
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
To get information
The most likely reason why it sniffs things a lot is that it has a strong sense of smell and sniffing things allows it to gather information about the thing it’s sniffing.
For example, the urine of other dogs will tell it where it has been, its health status and what it has been eating, this is the case for humans too. They can even pick up on the ovulation of humans which is why they will sniff females more during certain parts of the month (source).
To find out what other animals were around
Another possible reason why it might do it is to find out what other animals have been around. Knowing this would have helped their ancestors out a lot since it would have helped them figure out if prey or predators were nearby.
The cause could also be that it is curious about the thing that it is sniffing. For example, if it sniffs tends to sniff other dogs a lot, it would be likely that it wants to find out more about them such as how healthy they are and their gender.
Their eyesight is not as good as ours
The cause could also be that it makes up for areas where it lacks in its vision. Dogs cannot focus well on things that are close to them and are partially color blind. In addition to this, dogs can have large muzzles that can get in the way of their vision especially when they are looking down. By sniffing things, they will be able to make up for areas where they lack in vision.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
If your dog has always sniffed things on walks
It would help to consider whether or not your dog has always sniffed things a lot, on walks, or if it has started doing it suddenly. If it has started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as taking it on new routes that it is not used to or it might have learned that it gets rewards for sniffing things.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider if there is anything different about the timing of when it tends to sniff things on walks. For example, if it tends to do it more at certain trees, it would be much more likely that it is doing it because it smells the scent of other dogs that have been there.
What to do about your dog sniffing things on walks
Below are some things you can do in order to get your dog to stop sniffing things as much on a walk.
Positive reinforcement training
If your dog sniffs things a lot, when you are walking it, one way to get it to stop would be with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward it for doing things you want it to do and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
To get it to stop sniffing things on a walk, you would reward it when it walks with you the way you want it to and stop rewarding it when it does not. You can watch the video below to see how it is done in order to get it to stop pulling on the leash which makes use of the same techniques.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to sniff things on walks by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it starts sniffing things, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to try to reward it when it does not sniff things and to redirect its focus when it is likely to start sniffing.
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