WE need to be aware of our dogs' amazing ability and their need to use their senses. Allowing dogs and especially puppies to explore, sniff and taste different safe objects helps their brains to develop. Dogs love to sniff and explore, however, be careful not to overload a puppy with too much or it will shut down. A few minutes a day is enough for a small puppy.
Give the dog some safe household junk scattered around a room or yard for it to explore at leisure. It is not necessary to purchase expensive toys, dogs love to explore and play with an old cardboard box just as much as a toy and it does not matter if the box is destroyed. You can also hide some yummy treats in it, or under some of the other objects.
If your dog is investigating an object that is not doing any harm, then allow the dog to explore at will, as this will help it to develop self-confidence. Give the dog space to explore, don't interrupt and learn to keep quiet. Dogs need to explore their environment and find out what's there. This nose work will cost him more energy than a long walk - it is hard work for the dog but it is necessary for the dog's development and self-confidence.
Many problems in dogs develop through lack of self-confidence, so do not stop a dog using his senses. After all, this is what he was born to do. However, do not allow the dog to chase - keep him/her on a lead unless in a safe and secure environment. They will view their new environment first and then their head goes down and they start to take in the information through their nose. We should never yank on the lead or pull the dog's head up. This can damage the canine vertibrae.
When walking your dog, make the walk an enjoyable one. Don't make the dog walk on a short lead, forcing him or her to keep up with your walking pace. Allow your dog to walk slowly on a long lead, to sniff and explore the environment. This will be more enjoyable for your dog, more mentally stimulating and use more energy than just a straight long walk.
As a dog uses his senses he is taking in a lot of information, he is reading the daily post - who has been there, what has been there, why they were there, and so much more information that we humans do not know and cannot smell.
Some objects can be scary for dogs, especially for puppies. Allow them to walk up and explore in their own time and in their own way without pushing or rushing the puppy. Our intervention can do more harm than good in this situation. If the dog wants to go away from the scary object, then allow him to do so, its okay for him to walk away, he may be ready to deal with it another day. Also allow dog to have an escape route from the situation, this will help him to feel more secure, knowing he can leave if things feel a little scary for him.
Scent work is fun for your dog so allow him to do what he was born to do. Understanding your dog's needs is the beginning to understanding your dog and developing a good relationship with him or her. - Nicole Mackie