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Lately my short-legged dog has taken to walking with her nose on the ground...sniffing. Our walks have become slower and I feel like I am dragging her. How can I correct this? I need the exercise and she does too.
 

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Lately my short-legged dog has taken to walking with her nose on the ground...sniffing. Our walks have become slower and I feel like I am dragging her. How can I correct this? I need the exercise and she does too.
Teach her a cue word for sniffing, and occasionally, when she is giving you what you want, give her what she wants (a good long sniff). Dogs sniff for many reasons - first of all being that it is their sense of smell is their most important sense. Asking a dog not to sniff at all is sort of like telling a human they are not allowed to visually take in their surroundings. But dogs also sniff to relieve stress or indicate to another dog (or human) that they are not a threat. If you are fussing at her or "correcting" the slow sniffiness with your collar/leash, you may be making it worse. You can also work at teaching her to pay attention and more heavily reinforce the times when she is so she has a good alternative behavior.
One of my favorite games is Leslie Nelson's "Find it game". Drop a treat on the floor or ground and tell your dog to find it. They get to use their nose to do so. Then you wait quietly for them to turn back to you to see if you have more. As soon as the dog looks at you, mark that behavior (clicker - better/or marker word) and do the find it again. Pretty soon you'll have a dog who can't wait to seek out your face, and is learning good attention. When the dog is consistently and quickliy turning back to you, you can start adding in steps before you mark - but only mark if the dog is still focussed on you. If the dog loses focus, don't mark but go back to the beginning and build it up again.
 

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I used to get frustrated by the amount that Molly wants to stop and smell around but I realized that she was getting so much mental stimulation & pleasure out of it that I pretty much let her smell to her heart's content now. I figure, it's her walk, she should get to enjoy it. To make sure she is also getting enough physical exercise, we do some sprints here and there & we walk further than we might otherwise.
 

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Perhaps you are trying to get too much out of this event. You want physical exercise (so why did you buy a short haired dog that walks what, 500m and collapses?), your dog wants mental stimulation.

You are getting frustrated, your dog is getting
what dog came past last
are they male/female
in season or not
healthy or sick
what other dogs have been here
am i fit enough to outrank these dogs

You seem to have a complaint that your dog is being a dog to my mind.
Get a bike for yourself, and a slow sniffing walk for you dog. You keep fit, he keeps interested.
 

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The stimulation is good, and you should make time for your dog to check their 'pee mail'. Every dog is different, but many dogs if they've been given their time to sniff, are good to walk afterwards. I don't know if you've tried giving your dog enough time to get bored of sniffing one area, but I would try to see how long that takes, and plan for it. It may not be long at all, or you may need to do more to stimulate your dog as suggested in previous posts.
 

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Lately my short-legged dog has taken to walking with her nose on the ground...sniffing. Our walks have become slower and I feel like I am dragging her. How can I correct this? I need the exercise and she does too.
Correct sniffing? That would be like trying to correct you for looking - it's what they do.

I like Pawz's idea of putting a cue word to the sniffing. I also like the idea of...letting her sniff. As was said, once they take in the information they are looking for, usually they are good to move on. Walking isn't just exercise for a dog, it's a means to get to the next place of importance to them.

Notice the areas your dog sniffs. Are they generally the same places? Probably some importance for her there. Plan a route around these places. You'll likely notice patterns emerging. I know with Wally, I KNOW where he's going to sniff the most, so my routes connect these places, most of them at the beginning and end of the walk. So he gets to sniff and keep up with the news and gets that satisfied, then we can start the physical exercise. Then at the end, he can "unwind" with more sniffing and marking if he wants before we end up back at home.

Also, if there's safe places where there's nothing much of importance to her and isn't curious about it, try the exercise walks there. She probably won't sniff much. And if she does, let her. Then when done, start up again. If you want, you can give her some sniff time, then cue her to return so you can keep walking. I do this with Wally. He gets to sniff, I get to call him to continue, we both get something out of it.

Think of it like this - she's getting both her mind and body worked, which is double for your trouble.
 

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What kind of dog is she? All dogs really need to sniff (about 30% of a dog's brain is devoted to smell), but some breeds were bred for hundreds of years for scent work. I can't help but laugh when I hear beagle or other hound owners complain about sniffing. You can't fight hundreds of generations of selective breeding.

Let her sniff, it's fun and necessary for her.
 

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Lately my short-legged dog has taken to walking with her nose on the ground...sniffing. Our walks have become slower and I feel like I am dragging her. How can I correct this? I need the exercise and she does too.
Walk faster.

I'm not suggesting that you should "speed like the devil's on your tail", and drag her along, not at all ... but sometimes picking up the pace just a small amount will be enough to abate the excessive / unwanted sniffing. "Walk with purpose", as the old saying goes.

Also, as you're moving, you can 'mark' the moments when her nose is off the ground /feed treats slightly 'up' from nose level.

Allowing the dog to sniff as other posters have mentioned, may have some merit as well. That's something you'll have to weigh out, personally, whether it suits you and your dog's situation or not.
 

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What I do is have set locations on walks that I stop and let them sniff. Other than that, sorry, we're going to walk. The areas I pick are the side of one of the houses where there's a fire hydrant, the grass/snow is never maintained and so I let the dogs enjoy. The nice, neat lawns are off limits as is going up onto people's lawns to sniff/mark the nice flowers. So for the most part I do expect them to keep their noses up and walk. When we get to the grass where they can run loose, they can sniff all they want, but I don't have three hours to go there and back plus another hour there each day, so we boot it.

Plus if we want to go for a walk and take the dogs along, they need to be able to keep up and not tangle everyone or pee on a bush that is then going to soak someone's leg who is behind us.

This works well for me, I use a slip lead usually and put it behind the ears and am able to keep the nose up. Even on a beagle.
 

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Leafy I empathise! I have a pack of sniffers and if I didn't "teach' them WHEN I would never get anywhere. It's amazing how many messages they can get from a square inch of pavement. Pawz gave you truly excellent advice!!!
When mine are on the lead they all know now that the opportunity will come and good things come to those that wait lol. Correction will just make things worse so it really is about getting their attention. I would use high value treats and lots of enthusiastic good girls. After a stretch of no sniffing then you can reward her with a good sniff. We stop say "messages" in a fun voice and then the big sniffs begin. And then "lets go" heads up praise/cookies. (Personally I tended to use more praise than treats). When they are off lead they sniff all they want but still "lets go" means okay we'd like to move on now...
 

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I teach the cue, "Let's go!" which means to walk at my left side on a loose lead (not competition heeling, for which the word is "heel"), and also "OK!" (accompanied by my giving the dog the entire 6 feet of lead--I throw one hand off the lead ostentatiously to make it clear when he's learning. W/ new dogs or puppies they get many OKs within a walk--that's the dog's part of the walk and he can sniff by the side of the road, pee or poop, etc. Then it's MY part of the walk--"let's go" and I expect the dog to walk briskly with me. If he lags behind I just keep on going and when he catches up, click/treat. I C/T a LOT when the dog is in the right position (left side, loose lead) to make it worth his while.

If you just keep slowing down and stopping you'll find that eventually you never go anywhere! You're letting the dog dictate the walk. Instead YOU should dictate the walk (kindly). Walks are for exercise and training--use them! Just be sure to give the dog several short "OKs" within the walk to do his own thing. :)
 

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I use "Go Sniff" as a reward for LLW in heel position. It's as big and in certain locations, a bigger reward to a high value food treat. I walk the dog in heel position, she looks at me (long time ago taught eye contact gets a reward) and I say "Go Sniff" I hang out for 30 sec or a minute then say "Lets GO!" and walk on. Then entire walk consists of this.

I also use "go sniff" as a tension release with my dog reactive little puppy. So he sees the dog, I have high value food treats in front of his face( pure Pavlov) then when that little session is over and he's feeling more comfortable I lead him over to close by sniffing spot and let him sniff around til he's done. Then we see another trigger and etc. My R+ trainer says that sniffing releases tension and it burns lots of calories.
 

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My R+ trainer says that sniffing releases tension and it burns lots of calories.

Burns lots of calories?! That's really interesting! Never would have thought that. The relieving tension I can grasp more since sniffing is a calming signal as well. Never would have guessed about the calories.
 
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