Smells Like Teen Spirit- Or Maybe Week-Old Pastrami

One thing is true about every walk I take with Rumpy- it will be filled with stops to sniff things.

Rumpy checks out the latest news from the dog next door.
Rumpy checks out the latest news from the dog next door.

There’s the trees in front of the insurance agency where the neighbor dog does his thing.

There are squirrels to sniff around trees. It seems as though Rumpy can tell how long ago a squirrel was at the tree’s base, then he looks up to see if the squirrel is still there.

And, of course, there are the human smells. Where they pee. Food containers they discard. Cigarette butts. Towels or discarded clothing. Sometimes there are the humans themselves. I have to be on the lookout for sleeping homeless people because I don’t want Rumpy to sneak up on one.

What’s the deal with all this sniffing anyway?

Of course we all know that dogs’ noses are far more sensitive than our own. I smell urine. Rumpy can detect what creature left it there, when, and what was that creature’s state of health.

For Rumpy, sniffing things during a walk is like catching up on the neighborhood gossip, so peeing on a tree or a fire hydrant truly is leaving “pee-mail.”

And Rumpy’s sense of smell is also used indoors. Rumpy knew DeDe had cancer, because I often caught him sniffing the tumors. I can open a jar of peanut butter and no matter where that dog is, he soon finds his way by my side.

Ooh! I wonder who's visited the hydrant since I was last here?
Ooh! I wonder who’s visited the hydrant since I was last here?

Some dog trainers will tell you that it’s important to train your dog to not sniff during walks, or to only allow your dog to do so as a reward. I’m not a trainer, but I am a dog owner, and I will tell you that, at least for Rumpy and I, walks should be long enough to get a reasonable amount of exercise and allow for time to stop and smell the roses…. or lamp posts…… or bushes.

There are a few things I don’t allow him to sniff: dead animals (he might try to eat it), discarded food (he might try to eat it), and people (no he won’t eat them, but some are afraid he will). I also don’t let him go near other animals. This morning he wanted to go make friends with a turtle, but I said no, though we did stand nearby until the turtle crossed the road in case we needed to warn cars of his presence. Rumpy likes to go near Charlie’s art lab because Charlie feeds the homeless kitties, but I’m never sure if he wants to befriend the cats, or steal their food.

I personally feel that sniffing during walks is just as important for Rumpy as is the physical exercise. It’s mentally stimulating for him and offers his life variety. Maybe that’s why he wanted to change his walking route- the old one didn’t have enough exciting things to smell.

21 thoughts on “Smells Like Teen Spirit- Or Maybe Week-Old Pastrami

  1. I’m with you, I think to read the news is a part of social life… but I first check the area and go away in case of special air balloons, humanoid pee-marks and carcasses :o) btw: I’m glad Rumpy will not try to eat the humans he meets on his walks :o)

  2. Maggie could sniff for England, and I must confess, it’s amazing to watch her ‘grid’ as she doesn’t miss an inch.
    It’s also annoying when it’s starting to rain and flowers/bushes/driveways are more important than doing the business!

    1. I see it like those silly Facebook links to cute kitten videos that I seem to click on in spite of myself. She just can’t help having one more sniff.

    1. Different breeds have different smelling abilities. Alaskan Malamutes have a keen sense of smell. Apparently, the longer the nose, the better the sense of smell.

  3. I am a walker. I walk at least 10 miles a day with the company of my nano and books that I have downloaded.Walking with the dogs does not count as real walking. It is not exercise when they stop at every blade of grass. We take one 1/2 mile walk in the morning and the other 3 walks are just down the street for a little bit.

  4. You’re very right Jen, I can’t agree with you more! Sniffing things for dogs is one of their important jobs and I disagree with those dog trainers to not let dogs sniff during walks. Sniffing is one of dogs great talents, too!

  5. I agree with the other comments above. I think it’s important to let the dogs sniff as they walk – it’s a big part of what they are. Because the walks with my two aren’t very productive, I take a walk first and then take them individually for about 20 minutes each. They can stop and sniff and poop to their heart’s content. I have poop bags in all my pockets so I’m never without one!


  6. the last dog i was acquainted with, (my son’s boss’ dog), tried to sniff one of the cats when he first visited me, since he got a claw in the nose she wasn’t so interested in sniffing that cat the next time she visited, but when she saw me when she was being walked, her recognition of me was instant!!! dogs have a marvelous skill when it comes to being able to smell their world and remember

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