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If you have taken any pup for a walk, you already know that they like to stop and smell—everything. And it is hard to blame them. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell with approximately 330 million scent receptors (compared to our 6 million).

Sure, it may slow your stroll, but experts say letting your dog stop and sniff is good for their health. Letting their nose lead the way provides your dog mental stimulation while relaxing and de-stressing them.

Ready to take your dog on a sniff walk? Follow these tips for planning a sniff walk with your pooch.


There is one rule when it comes to taking your dog on a sniff walk: your pup’s nose leads the way (within reason, of course!).

Rather than tugging on the leash or ushering your pooch from point A to point B, the purpose of a scent walk is to let your pup linger and follow interesting scents. After all, his super-smelling snout is 40 times more powerful than ours. Scientists say this equates to a dog being able to detect one rotten apple among two million barrels of apples.

Sniff walks are also called decompression walks, scent walks, dog-led walking, free walks—and my favorite—sniffaris. Whatever you call them, sniff walks exercise your dog’s brain and greatly satisfy their need for novel experiences. You will strengthen your human-pup bond and will be rewarded with a happy, well-exercised and behaved pooch.


Sniff walks can go pretty long and in all directions if left up to your dog. Typically, one 30-to-60-minute sniff walk or two 10-to-15-minute sniff walks a day is a great goal.

Don’t be surprised if your dog wants to smell each new object, tree, or patch of grass they find. Sniff walks are a great time to work on your patience, too!

When choosing where to walk, consider areas that might have more interesting smells, like around the local pond or through the wooded park where squirrels scurry about.


Fall is the perfect time to take in the crisp smells with your pooch, but sometimes the weather is not suitable for a leisurely scent walk. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep your pup's nose active indoors.

Hiding delicious smelling treats around the house for your dog to find is a great scent walk alternative—and entertainment for you and your pup. Looking for a more stationary alternative to scent walks? Break up treats into a snuffle mat, or a mat that is specifically designed to stimulate your dog's sense of smell. By poking their nose through the mat, they will be able to smell and find the scents that are hiding inside. Check out our friends at Chelsy’s Toys for quality snuffle mats.

Sniff walks and indoor scent activities are a great way to tire out your dog's mind as well as their body, and they can be done regardless of your dog’s age or athletic abilities.


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