Sniffing activities such as putting food in a snuffle mat, rope, or pouf are a great way to provide lots of mental exercise! When a dog uses their nose to find food it requires more energy then using their sight which helps reduce boredom by giving them a challenge. Why should we challenge our dogs? They are carnivores who instinctively were born to sniff out their prey before they consume it. We take that away from them by feeding them from a bowl so a sniffing activity is the perfect way to provide that challenge! Why else should we challenge our dogs? Many behavior problems stem from our dogs not getting enough mental exercise! Sniffing activities are also an excellent way to reduce stress since sniffing lowers the heart rate, pulse rate and new research shows that sniffing for food produces optimism in dogs. It also helps reduce boredom by encouraging natural foraging. Sniffing for food is also a great tool to slow down a fast eater.
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