Different types of walks and why they are important for development in your puppy/dog
Types of Walks:
- Exercise Walks
- Mental Stimulation Walks aka Sniffaris
One of the most common questions I am asked, as a dog trainer is “should I let my dog sniff on walks?” The answer isn’t always as simple as you would think! We want our dogs to have a combination of different kinds of structured walks throughout the day to maximize the benefits our puppy/dog is receiving from each walk. This means either focusing on encouraging a “mental stimulation” walk or an “exercise” walk. Keeping mental notes of your dog’s daily habits and energy level throughout the day will help you determine which walk will be most beneficial to your dog at different times of the day. Always remember that training is the main component of every walk, no matter which one you’re working on at that moment!
Mental stimulation walks, or a “Sniffari” as we like to call them, are walks geared towards allowing the dog to sniff and explore with their nose. Just like how humans use our hands to explore the world, our dogs don’t have thumbs, so they use the next best thing, their nose! Allowing your dog to sniff on walks has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress in your dog and increases their mental health; so why wouldn’t we want to encourage sniffing!
The only time when sniffing becomes a problem for dog parents is when their dog completely forgets about you on the other end of the leash and pulls you around behind their nose. This is why implementing focus exercises and check-ins while out on your walk can be so important for your dog and their development. This also teaches your dog that sniffing and exploring is a reward for listening and paying attention, builds a foundation for focus with distractions, and teaches your dog to engage on their own with you for a reward!
While we want them to explore the world, we also want them to check back in with us and understand that we still focus and pay attention when asked, and doing this allows us to walk further and explore more things!
“Always remember that training is the main component of every walk, no matter which one you’re working on at that moment!”
Exercise walks, on the other hand, should be encouraged at the times in the day when your dog is most energetic and in need of releasing some of that energy! Now when we are encouraging an exercise walk, we are focusing on a brisker walk with purpose with the goal in mind that we want our dog to feel some energy release and be more ready for a nap after this walk, but training is still always a priority no matter what type of walk we are working on.
I always like to think about how I feel after being in my house for a few hours; a little stir crazy! So, if I feel stir-crazy after just a few hours and I can leave the house and do as I please, just think of how your dog may feel if they only go on a few walks a day! While we are encouraging a peppy and brisk walk, we still want to make sure we are also encouraging check-ins and rewarding any positive behavior while out on the walk, as well as not allowing any pulling by stopping and redirecting if needed. This keeps your dog from building on their energy making it easier to redirect and change directions if necessary!
Just because we are encouraging the release of energy doesn’t mean we completely lose all our manners, which is very important to keep in mind!
Whether your dog is a kangaroo bouncing off the walls or a sleepy couch potato both types of walks are necessary for the development and stimulation of your dog to help limit stress, learn more about the world through their senses, and stay healthy and active!
Does this sound like something that you would love to do with your dog?
We can help you!
Whether you have a brand-new puppy or an older dog, we can help you work on enjoying a Sniffari with your dog!
Text our trainers today at either of our locations:
4423 sw 74th ave
Miami, Fl 33155
Call – 954.514.7059
5149 NE 12th ave
Oakland Park, Fl 33334
We’d be happy to chat live with you about your training goals and what program is right to reach your dog training goals.
Don’t forget to always Train. Treat. Repeat.