Do You Let Your Dog Sniff The Ground While Walking?

A forum contributor asked, “Do you let your dog sniff around while walking them?”

Adam replied: “No. If I want to stop and let him sniff, I tell him, “Free!” (or ‘take a break’). But otherwise, I only give him a chance to pee every 1/2 hour or so, during a walk.”

Original poster: “Thanks Adam. By the way… I couldn’t believe how fast the loose leash dog walking technique worked. In less than 3 minutes both of my dogs were walking on a loose leash and I was teaching both of them at the same time. This is after months of constantly telling my one dog to heel and pulling up on the leash to get him back to my side.

dog sniffing ground Trainer 4: “I don’t mind if the nose is airscenting while walking, but I do not like the head down on the ground or out at the side. Even on regular walks, we book it. I don’t mind a quick sniff or two, but nothing interrupts a good aerobic workout like coming to a screeching halt because the dog has to investigate something or is slowed down smelling the trail of something interesting. We’re out on a walk. This is OUR time together. There are other times and places to investigate Fun Smells, and this ain’t it.  Make sense?

Original poster:  Hi DPTrainer4, what are those other times and places to investigate Fun Smells? Because if I’m walking somewhere with the dogs then I’m walking and so are they.

Adam replied: She means that those times and places are left up to your discretion. Not the dog’s. Trainer 4:  Exactly.  When we are walking around 120 acres, a loose leash is not first priority–in fact, a leash is more of a hindrance and gets in the way. What IS important is a solid recall and leave-it. An occasional, rock-solid down helps too–squirrel season, out walking with the dog and we heard something in the copse of oaks. Downed the dog off in the distance and waited to see if anything would show; nothing ended up happening, so we just got her back up and walked on. (She is NOT a hunting dog by any stretch of the imagination, either!)

It’s a good reason to put reliable, real-world obedience on a dog so that it can enjoy a good off-leash walk and YOU can rest assured that it will listen to you the first time when things go haywire.

At the park near my parent’s house, dogs are allowed off-leash during certain times of the evening. This is a good mix of work and play. She can go off-leash and explore, but we’re still heeling and working when other dogs come around. (I keep her close because I do not want other dogs approaching us–“He’s friendly” be damned, mine might not be and plus, it’s just plain rude to allow your dog to molest and bully other dogs under the guise of “play.”)

Depends on your circumstances, location and opportunities where you can use your discretion.