opinions on dog sniffing along on casual walks?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by patandchickens, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I have been through this question on a dog-training list and I believe they have changed my perspective on the issue (which would be appealing on a practical level anyhow [​IMG]), but because it just seems so counterintuitive to me (remember I have never owned a dog before) I would be really curious to see what folks here think, too, as representing a much much wider range of opinions and approaches.

    So, say you have a young dog (for instance a 10 month old lab named Russell, LOL). How would you feel about it if, on your walks in the woods with him, he walks on a loose leash very nicely but has a strong inclination to keep his nose on the ground most of the time? If I turn or stop he usually does it nicely on a loose leash, and if I *ask* for him to look up he readily does, but most of the time his nose goes right back to the ground as soon as I give any acknowledgement or reward for his look. (Sometimes he does get distracted by his nose and tune me out but I suppose that is sort of a separate issue.)

    Would you a) figure "enh, he's a dog, he's young, the world smells interesting, let him do it as long as his brain is still paying attention to me"; b) figure "plenty of other dogs can walk along looking with their eyes and with an *airborne* nose, so can he" and try to change the behavior; c) figure "well, he is going to have to learn not to snout his way through life in *other* situations, like if we are able to start doing agility" and try to change the behavior; or d) something else?

    Not *exactly* asking advice here, mostly just seeing what other folks think, but you are always welcome to give advice if you want, too, LOL [​IMG]

    (for those who have not read earlier threads on Russell, I got him last summer from a shelter and he is really quite solid on training type stuff for only four months of work, although we are still working on dealing calmly with exciting events like strangers he hopes will pet him)

  2. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    Find him a job using that natural ability. Search and rescue..... It's fun. Other than that I won't be much help.
  3. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I think a dogs smell is his strongest sense, even more so than eyesight. When I let my puppies out in the morning, the first thing they do is drop their heads and run along, tracking whatever critter happened to be moseying by during the night, and they arent particularly tracking and scent dogs, like Id expect a lab to be. As long as he's paying attention to you when you want him to, Id let him have a little fun on his walks.
  4. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    Dogs are highly scent-motivated, as you are keenly aware. [​IMG] The scents in a dog's environment are the equivalent of the Community Bulletin Board -- the latest news is right there! Who's been by, who's in a (shall we say "hormonal") state, what other types of visitors have been through, and how long ago, etc. As long as he responds when you request "break" or require his attention, let him get his fill of the scent-triggers, and he'll be happily yours for the rest of your session (I think. [​IMG] )
  5. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:What are you doing, reading over my shoulder???

    Now thats just creepy.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    As long as his shots are up to date--especially parvo--he's gonna be fine. He's just doing what dogs do and loving it. Has he "met" any other dogs yet? That requires sniffing too. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  7. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    He's checking the doggie interwebs. If he listens to you, don't worry about it.
  8. Hound

    Hound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Having a good sniff around is the fun part of going for a walk for a dog. Unless you're planning on entering obedience competitions and need him heeling like an automaton i'd let him be a dog and enjoy himself.
  9. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Our dog Ernest does that with my husband. DH figures it's normal for a dog. After all, the largest perceptual area of their brain is devoted to their nose. And the world contains all those interesting smells!

    When I walk him, I usually make him pay attention and walk at my side for a while to establish who's in charge, then let him do the same thing as a reward for being a good dog. As long as he pays attention when he needs to, I don't mind.
  10. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Quote:Great way to put it!

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