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I've noticed that some people don't let their dogs sniff at all while going on walks and also keep a very short leash. I have a hard time with this as Heidi really loves to sniff and I hate to deprive her of the activity she loves so much. It's not that I let her be the leader during the walk, but I do keep the leash a little longer so she can sniff the ground as we're walking and I will occasionally stop and let her sniff if she seems to find something really interesting.

Am I being too wimpy of an owner?
How do others handle this? She is a bit of a puller--even with the prong collar.
 

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I don't really let mine sniff much along the way, except for Ruger because he's still learning not to. I'm working on changing a lot of his behavior right now, so I don't want to put too many demands on him at the moment. He heels beautifully so I can't complain.

I DO stop now and then at places of interest, like light poles, wooded areas, etc. for a sniff/potty session, but I do make them wait until I say "Okay."

Light sniffing along the way is fine, as long as they don't put on the brakes to sniff something, and still pay attention to me if I turn, stop, etc.
 

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Sometimes we are just around and the dogs can sniff all they want, after all they have their needs, but if I say "Junto" (which is already different from the obedience Fuss) then they have to walk with me and put atention to me. I never walk my dogs unleashed, but if I say Junto I should no to feel any pressure in the leash at all.
 

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The longer I have dogs as companions, the less I find I want to "control" them. Instead I want to build and maintain a good relationship with them. That means that I respect them as dogs among other things. Sniffing is like reading the newspaper to them. We would never get anywhere if everyday was the Sunday NYTimes but I do allow them to sniff when we are walking. If they start to drag me to get to something I simply stop and wait until they turn and remember there is someone walking with and attached to them. If they are walking nicely and stop to sniff things from time to time, that's fine with me. If they are taking forever in one stop I simply say "Let's Go" and off we go!
 

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For the most part, I let mine read the headlines. As they get older, I let them take in at least the first page. The eldest doesn't run any more and this is a joy she still has so what the heck.
 

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I don't let my dogs stop and sniff at all. When we are out walking, we are out walking not gawking. There is nothing more annoying than a dog that has to stop and sniff all the time. They are perfectly capable of sniffing while moving and don't need to stop and poke their nose into some smell. Also, if you take your dog into places like PetSmart, sniffing leads to peeing.
 

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If my dog is on a command--like 'with me' (not heel, but walk beside me) I dont let him sniff. At that point he is on my time. But when I 'release' him, he can do what he wants. It depends on how much time I have to walk him (I generally have him 'with me' to the park and where he gets to run free) the more time I have, the more relaxed our meander to the park, and how my patience is that day.
 

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Great post, Ruth!

The "not letting your dog sniff on the walk" slogan was based on one of those alpha theories- the dog only has to focus on you (as the leader) and nothing else, blablabla. It's rather dumb and certainly not scientific.

I find it cruel if dogs can't sniff around on walks. If people don't like that their dog occas. stops to sniff, they should walk alone. It's that simple.
Dogs stay at home -in the very same environment- all day long, why not grant them the pleasure of sniffing to get to know 'the world'. I don't think it's too much to ask for.
 

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I don't mind the polite sniffers, but as a dog walker in the past, there are definitely some that are quite controlling as to where they want to sniff and will try to drag you all over, or take 10 minutes to sniff one spot. So I really go either way, depending on how much time we have and what we're out for.

My dogs get plenty of new smells everyday just in our yard, as we only have a front yard and everyone walks their dogs past it. Walks are (mostly) for walking and training, not sight-seeing (or smelling!). Off-leash at the park, woods, etc. they can do whatever.
 

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Skye loves to sniff on our walks and I am fine with that. I walk her on a 20' line. We have deer, rabbits, squirrels, coyotes in our area - it is rich in smells!

Skye walks ahead, or behind and comes back by side for awhile every few minutes. If I tell her to heel or get in, she is in place immediately and stays there until released.

When Skye hears 'go walk' she knows it is casual - the only rule is "don't pull or make the lead tight.' Work is work and fun is fun - we all need a break now and again. Let 'em have some fun.
 

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Hey, would that we could "stop and smell the roses." Dog think fireplugs and telephone poles are roses.

Ok to sniff, just don't pull and come along when I say 'enough.'
 

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One of the reasons I'm a fan of walking in areas where my dogs can be offleash is this is much less an issue. I have a 'leave it' command when they are sniffing something that will maybe go next either into their mouth or get rolled on, but generally if they sniff for a bit it's not an issue.

That said, my dogs know the 'rules' on these walks. They have to be within sight and in front or beside me. If they are so into sniffing I catch up to them, it's a 'leave it' and move on. I have to be able to see them at all times.

When I walk on leash, if I'm just having them for a poop/pee I don't care so much for the sniffing either. BUT if we are seriously exercising, then we need to MOVE. So the sniffing has to be alot less cause we are moving out to get the cardio started for both of us!

Sniffing is an EXTREMELY normal behavior for our dogs and they get information from it we can't even imagine. I feel to not allow them would be similiar to almost taking away a sense like sight or hearing. Because I would be taking away alot of information they normally enjoy taking in. Makes them happy, so it makes me happy. And generally, in the scope of things in life, me having CONTROL ISSUES on an entire walk may need to take a back seat to the fact it's a normal and wonderful behavior for our dogs.

Hey, I'm going to start tracking classes cause I think it's so important for my dog!

Cool article about dogs and sniffing and how the NATURAL tendency for this is found in our dogs:

http://www.flockguard.org/trainbehaviorofdogs.htm (this may just be interesting and not help
)

ADDITIONALLY, sniffing is one of the 'calming signals' our dogs use all the time. One of the many things they do all the time to communcate with us (and we are too 'stupid' to get it) and they also use it to communicate with other dogs (and the socialized ones understand and get it right away).

http://dogbodylanguage.blogspot.com/

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/calmingsignals.html
 

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I just remembered something I read a while ago. It was something like "There was a bank robbery and the police were interrogating all witnesses they could find. There was a man who said he saw when the robbers escaped and get into their car while he was walking his dog across the street. As one of the routine question the cop asked 'Did you stopped somewhere?' and the man answered 'Have you ever walked a dog?'
 

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Originally Posted By: BowWowMeowThe longer I have dogs as companions, the less I find I want to "control" them. Instead I want to build and maintain a good relationship with them. That means that I respect them as dogs among other things. Sniffing is like reading the newspaper to them. We would never get anywhere if everyday was the Sunday NYTimes but I do allow them to sniff when we are walking. If they start to drag me to get to something I simply stop and wait until they turn and remember there is someone walking with and attached to them. If they are walking nicely and stop to sniff things from time to time, that's fine with me. If they are taking forever in one stop I simply say "Let's Go" and off we go!
I feel the same exact way they are dogs first and walking and sniffing is what they do they will respond to commands if needed but I don't want to strip them of their natural instincts and activities.
 

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I teach different commands for different types of walking.
"Heel/Fuss" (teach both commands) Is used for competition heeling. Attention & position are important. I generally will use this in competition only or during a very crowded walk. This command is used when I want position and attention to be correct and is only done for a few minutes maximum at a time (long enough for a SchH routine or AKC Obed routine, but not more than a few minutes!).

"Let's Go" This is for a controled walk. For the times when I want to tire my dog out on a walk mentally as well as physically. This is the shorter leash, walk with me and don't sniff or pull on leash, remain at my left side.. type of walk that I think the OP was talking about. I use this when I am in highly congested areas but do not need heads up attention heeling. This is only done for a few minutes at a time also, the longest being approximately a total of 10 minutes.

"Free" This is for sniffing/potty walks. The dog may go to either side (left or right) and may sniff and "read the newspaper". It is a very informal liesurely walk. I have only one requirement, do not pull on leash. Other than that they can do as they wish. This is used for the majority of a walk.

I use all three on walks whereever needed. Spend a couple of seconds training attention "heel" then allow dog to "free" and chill out/sniff/potty then a little later, a "Let's go" ... etc I find my dogs love this and it keeps them oriented to me even during the "free". It keeps them from learning to pull on the leash and it still makes our walks enjoyable.
 

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^^ I do the same as above. Three kinds of walks. The "do whatever you want" walk is like a reward for the formal heel walk. After a few blocks of good heeling, I "release" the dog and she can sniff or do whatever for a block or so. If I give no initial command or a "come along" means loose leash walking in heel, but not as strict as a "heel!" heel. "Heel" means RIGHT in heel, maintaining eye contact, adjusting to my changes in pace, etc. For us, walks are for training, not exercise. The dogs get to run and sniff and do whatever they want off-lead in the yard or at the park.
 

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We have a park a few blocks up the street. When we walk to the park I keep sarge on a short leash. As we enter the park I give him a lot of slack and let him lead me around where ever he wants to go.

When its time to go I say...ok...were walking. I tighten up the slack on the leash and we continue our walk as before. I like to let him have his sniffing and tracking time because I know how much he likes it.
 

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I agree- I tell Spazz taht we are doing "Let's go work" for training........"Wanna walk?" for when we are just going out for a stroll and ....."Free dog!" for when we just go out to play and run wild!

FOURISCOMPANY - I love the face on your avitar! Cute!
 
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