Sniffing and Whiffing

Is your dog like a shopaholic at a rummage sale, smelling anything and everything that comes its way? You are not alone. As every dog knows, the best way to get the scoop on anything is through its nose.

Powerful Sense of Smell
According to Bash Dibra, noted animal behaviorist and author of DogSpeak (Fireside), "A dog's sense of smell is so acute because dogs have at least 25 times more olfactory receptors than humans. "A dog's nose can even distinguish between the cheese, meat and ketchup on a cheeseburger. And, as you already know, some dogs are trained to use this smelling skill for good -- for rescue or drug tracking -- and bomb-detection work.

Of course, sniffing the sidewalk, the fire hydrant and other dogs may seem pointless to you, but it provides a wealth of information to your dog. Dogs have a need to know, and smelling is how they learn.

"Dogs smell each other and their secretions to monitor physiological and emotional changes," says Dibra. "It's like getting the morning paper or a hot-off-the-press tabloid."

Taming the Incessant Smeller
If sniffing becomes excessive for your dog, try these strategies to simmer down its snout.

  • Offer a diversion, like a chew toy, or a treat that has a scent your dog loves.
  • Teach your dog to use the crate, especially if sniffing visitors is of high entertainment value to it.
  • Clap your hands and take charge with your leash when your dog sniffs other dogs inappropriately or excessively.
  • Give your dog plenty of exercise and attention.

Your dog's sense of smell is a powerful and useful tool for the animal. Basically, its sniffing and whiffing ways are simply a part of its nature.