What is a Sniffari? A Brand New Way to Let Your Dog Sniff and Explore

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Written By Dane Michael

I am a passionate dog owner for 10+ years. MyFavCorgi is a community of 500,000+ corgi fans with advice to buy, raise and care for your corgi.

If you’ve been digging around with dog owners, you may have come across the idea of a ‘sniffari’ and wondered, what on earth are people talking about?

A sniffari is more than just a walk with your dog. It’s an opportunity for your furry companion to experience the world through their strongest sense – their sense of smell.

In a sniffari, your dog is given the freedom to wander and explore, following their nose and making their own choices about where to go and what to investigate. The stop off at different ‘sniff stations’, and smell all the different scents.

This allows them to engage with their environment – and its a great way to stimulate their brains and bodies.

What is a sniffari?

Sniffaris are walking tours where your dog gets the chance to sniff. They will stop off at different locations and get to take in the smells.

Have you ever wanted to go on a safari with your furry best friend? Well, now you can!

​A sniffari (sniff safari) is a unique and exciting adventure where you and your dog can explore the world through scent.

A sniffari is not your average walk in the park. Instead of walking in a straight line, you’ll be taking a wandering journey, allowing your dog to stop and start as they discover new scents.

This is the perfect opportunity for your dog to exercise their imagination and their sense of smell.

What are the two types of sniffaris

The two types of sniffari are natural sniffaris (in nature) and custom sniffaris (made by humans). Custom sniffaris take more work, but are very exciting experiences for your dog.

​A natural sniffari is much like your regular dog walk. Only this type, instead of keeping a short leash by your side, you let your dog wander.

By letting your dog lead with their nose, they will tell you where they want to go. 

Stop off at locations that are more likely to have stronger smells. Great places to go walking on a sniffari include horse trails, bushwalks, and around bodies of water like lakes and creeks.

A custom sniffari is a course designed by humans (either yourself or one you attend).

It’s where you set up different sniff stations in a certain area. If you are designing it yourself, the local park or even your backyard can be a good spot.

Each sniff station should have a different smell. Smells to consider include coffee grounds, manure, safe foods and plants, and fleece. You then set off on a tour of the locations, letting your dog sniff at each spot.

Two Pembroke Welsh corgis sniffing the grass outside

Why should you take your dog on a sniffari?

Dogs have a unique perspective on the world, one that is centred around their incredible sense of smell. This makes sniffaris a great activity for them to enjoy.

It’s like humans and our addiction to social media. Every scent is a new notification, pinging our brain and releasing chemicals that keep us alert and engaged.

It’s important to remember that this is an integral part of the canine experience and it’s essential to allow your furry friend the time and space to explore their surroundings through their sense of smell.

Not only does this keep their brain engaged and active, but it also gives them a sense of control and autonomy over their environment.

On a deeper level, allowing your dog to direct a portion of the walk can also lead to a reduction in stress for both you and your pup. Giving them the freedom to make choices about their own experience can lead to a more relaxed and contented pet.

So, next time you’re out on a walk with your dog, try slowing down and allowing them to lead the way. Take a step back and let them explore and engage with the world through their sense of smell.

Not only will you be providing enrichment for their minds, but you’ll also be creating an opportunity for deeper connection and bonding with your furry companion. The result, a happier and more relaxed you and your dog.

Three Pembroke Welsh corgis outside on the green grass facing away from the camera in a group

How to do a sniffari? 4 tips to create your own 

Sniffaris are a lot of fun for your dog, and they’re not too difficult to put together either. Things to consider include laying out a plan, using a long leash, taking it slow, and bringing along treats for your dog.

​I am a proud dog owner and I love finding new ways to challenge and entertain my furry friend. 

For my first sniffari, I started by gathering a few of my dog’s favourite toys and treats, and placing them in different spots around my house and yard. I then called my dog over and let him take the lead.

My dog quickly caught on to the game and started using his nose to sniff out the smell. He would get so excited when he found each new one. My next one involved some stronger smells, which I’ll outline below.

Your sniffaris can be as simple or as complex as you like. ​Here are a few useful tips to help you create your own sniffari.

Sniffari Tip 1: Plan your walk

Planning your dog walk is an essential part of being a great sniffari leader. It ensures that your dog gets a variety of smells that are safe and healthy for your dog.

The most important factor is working out what you are going to get your dog to sniff. Anything with a strong scent that is safe for dogs is a good choice. Options include:

  • Herbs and spices such as mint, rosemary, and cinnamon
  • Fruits and vegetables such as apple, carrot, and sweet potato
  • Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus
  • Natural materials such as pinecones, leaves, and bark
  • Foods such as cheese, bacon, and peanut butter
  • Citrus products such as vinegar and lemon juice

Another key aspect is choosing the right location. While busy locations have a lot of smells, if you’re creating your own, you want somewhere more secluded. This will give your dog more time to sniff.

By being mindful of these details, you can create an enjoyable and stress-free experience for your dog.

Common items to use for a sniffari

Sniffari Tip 2: Use a harness or leash

When taking your dog out for sniffari, it’s important to use a harness or leash to ensure their safety and control.

A harness is a great option because it distributes pressure evenly across the chest and shoulders, making it more comfortable for your dog. It can give you more control over your dog’s direction and can help prevent pulling.

It’s also a good idea to use a longer lead. A lead over 3 meters will give your dog more freedom to explore and sniff while still keeping them under control. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog and make sure they don’t get too far away and stay safe.

It’s also important to consider the type of leash you are using. Retractable leashes can be dangerous as they can cause injuries to both you and your dog. It’s best to use a traditional leash that is made of durable material, such as leather or nylon.

Using a harness or leash is a must when taking your dog out for a sniffari. It will keep your dog safe and secure, and give you control over their movements, allowing both you and your dog to enjoy the experience.

Sniffari Tip 3: Take it slow

When taking your dog on a sniffari, it’s important to take it slow and give them plenty of time to explore and sniff around. This can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the walk for them and is essential for their well-being.

Allow your dog to take the lead and let them decide where they want to go and what they want to sniff. This gives them a sense of control and freedom, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Don’t rush them or try to pull them away from a particular area too soon, as this can be frustrating for them.

In addition, taking it slow means you should also move at a relaxed pace. This is not only for your dog, but also for you. This can help you to enjoy the experience and enjoy the scenery. Also, if you are in a natural environment, you can take the time to observe the wildlife, listen to the birds, and breathe in the fresh air.

It’s also important to be aware of your dog’s body language and behavior. If they seem tired, take a break and give them some water. If they are not interested in sniffing, it’s probably time to head back home.

Sniffari Tip 4: Add in treats

When taking your dog on a sniffari, it’s important to bring along plenty of treats to reward good behaviour and reinforce training.

​Treats can be a great way to increase the bond between you and your dog and make the walk more enjoyable for both of you.

It’s a good idea to bring a variety of different treats with you, such as small, soft treats that can easily be broken into pieces and scattered on the ground. This can be a great way to distract your dog if they become too interested in other dogs or animals that they encounter on the walk.

When your dog comes back to you or checks in with you during the walk, be sure to reward them with a treat.

This will help to increase your dog’s goodwill towards you and reinforce recall training. This can be especially helpful if you’re working on training your dog to come when called, particularly in a space with lots of distraction like a sniffari.

Treats a great way to make your dog’s sniffari more enjoyable and rewarding for both you and your dog. 

Final thoughts on sniffaris for your dog

Sniffaris can be a wonderful way to enrich your dog’s life and strengthen your bond with them.

By allowing your dog to explore and sniff their environment, you’re giving them the opportunity to engage their natural instincts and use their keen sense of smell.

Taking it slow, using a comfortable harness or leash, and incorporating treats can make the experience even more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

It’s important to remember that every dog is different and may have different preferences or comfort levels when it comes to sniffing, so it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s cues and adjust the experience as needed.

Overall, a sniffari can be a great way to spend quality time with your dog, while also providing them with an opportunity to use their unique abilities and explore the world around them.

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