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Miniature schnauzer advice - controlling sniffing

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Borischelski, Jan 15, 2020.


  1. Borischelski

    Borischelski PetForums Newbie

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    We have 2 male Miniature schnauzers age 10 & 1. During a 30 min / 3/4 mile walk on (separate individual) leads, typically they stop, sniff & mark every 10 yards. Sometimes even more frequently.

    I am pretty sure this is not normal. Or rather it has become normal because we have allowed.

    We are probably our own worst enemies as we have allowed it since the older dog was born and are now allowing it with the younger Dog.

    I was wondering if there is any advice out there re Miniature schnauzers in terms of how we can start to manage their sniffing better going forward ?

    Are we being cruel or selfish by looking to reduce their sniffing ?

    If they need a pee, do they empty their bladder with the very first pee or are they saving it up and spreading their pee across the entire walk ie after every sniff ?

    Should we allow it perhaps for the first couple of minutes or sniffs and then stop it thereafter?

    Is there a specific command or action we should use?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    Miniature Schnauzers and sniffing are almost synonymous I'm afraid. They were after all, originally bred to "sniff out" vermin and I think it's one of those traits that to a certain extent, you just have to put up with.

    I think it depends on where you're walking as to whether/how much, you allow them to sniff and scent mark.

    With my two if we're walking in the countryside I allow them to sniff to their heart's content. It's their walk after all and I regard it rather like me going "window shopping"! As for peeing, I have one who's not interested in posting "pee mail" and another who'll deposit a few drops at every opportunity!

    If however we're walking through town they're told "Let's go" which means no sniffing and no cocking of legs, unless I say so. And with the one who likes to leave his "pee mail" everywhere I make sure I keep him- well away from anything he can cock his leg against!:rolleyes:
     
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  3. Billbailey

    Billbailey Banned

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    I agree with Magyarmum. You can train them to know when it's a 'sniffy walk' and when it's a 'get a move on' walk. I use 'walk on' when I want Bill to keep moving. He will still try and sniff things but I can usually keep him going.

    It can also depend on your body language. If you keep the pace up the dogs will soon learn that it's not a sniffy walk. Especially if you amble along gently when it is.
     
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  4. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    It’s a fine line, though - dogs read the world around them through smell and read the state of other dogs from the pee they’ve left behind. To deny them too much would be a bit like us having to go around blindfolded. So, I think that trying to find a happy middle ground is going to be the key. Just my half penn’orth. :)
     
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  5. Billbailey

    Billbailey Banned

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    That's true. I think the majority of walks should be sniffy walks.
     
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  6. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    I always say the dogs and I don't go for a walk, we go on a "sniffing expedition" which can be fun especially if you point things out to the dogs that you think they might be interested in!

    Weather permitting we go to training every week. Most of the time the training is done in a busy Lidl Car Park just outside the city centre. The venue was chosen because living in a small village my younger dog has had little experience of being in busy, bustling places Before we start our formal lesson though our trainer and I always take the dogs.a short walk on the grass and close to the bushes and allow them to have a good sniff around. .
     
  7. kirksandallchins

    kirksandallchins PetForums VIP

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    I've never allowed my dogs to sniff or scent mark whilst on the lead, including three Mini Schnauzers.

    We have a short walk to the park where they go off lead and can sniff and wee as much as they like. I walk quite quickly and the dogs soon realise they've got to walk briskly to keep up with me.

    I sound like a riding school instructor when I say TROT and QUICK when I'm leaving the garden
     
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  8. Borischelski

    Borischelski PetForums Newbie

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    A big thankyou to everybody for you fascinating and thought provoking feedback. Much appreciated and lots of things for me to try !
     
  9. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    In the grand scheme of things does it really matter whether your dogs spend much of their time sniffing when on a walk?

    Providing you and your dogs are happy that's the most important thing IMO. Sniffing a lot might sometimes be slightly annoying but I can think of many behaviours that are so much worse:)
     
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  10. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    I agree sometimes we don’t get very far as the boys are sniffing but if they are happy I’m happy.
     
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  11. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    Having had two escapees last week I was really thankful that mine are avid sniffers because they're too busy inspecting every blade of grass and posting their peemail to get very far.:rolleyes:
     
  12. Bugsys grandma

    Bugsys grandma PetForums VIP

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    Woody thoroughly enjoys a good sniffy walk, if I'm in a hurry to get somewhere and he starts sniffing I'll give him a few seconds and then tell him " that's enough, let's go"'and he's fine, if I really don't want him stopping at all to sniff, then I'll keep him on a shorter lead.
    However with most of our walks we have no need to be hurrying, so Woody can sniff as much as he likes.,
    I find that a really good sniffy walk tires him out just as much as a good old gallop about playing fetch.
    Woody has been on restricted exercise for the last couple of weeks, on lead walks only cos he's had a nasty sprain to his back leg, so it's been sniffy walks only , and very short ones at that, but he's been perfectly happy and settled afterwards.
    He's normally used to good long romps about, playing fetch and being very physical during his walks, but he's been just as happy and nicely tired by a good sniff.
     
  13. Borischelski

    Borischelski PetForums Newbie

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    What a great forum with so many taking the trouble to kindly reply :)

    As a bit more background.....

    I take them on 2 occasionally 3 walks a day.

    The middle walk is always a longer off-lead country walk where they are free to sniff and run to their hearts content.

    My issue is during the first and occasional 3rd walks. These on-lead walks in built up suburban residential areas along footpaths frequented across the day by dozens & dozens of dogs.

    I keep our dogs on separate short leads, one in each hand and they literally stop to sniff every couple of yards. Trouble is they rapidly jerk from left to right in excitement at another anticipated sniff, almost jerking my shoulder out of its joint. (In fairness bearing in mind they are miniature schnauzers, I am exaggerating slightly).

    Going forward, on the shorter suburban walks I am thinking of allowing an initial slow walking 5 min sniff time followed by a far brisker non-sniff rest of walk.
     
  14. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    I think your idea of an initial slow walk with 5 minutes of sniffing is a good idea. We go to 1-2-1 obedience classes every week and before we start training the dogs are taken for a walk around the grassy perimeter of the car park where they're allowed to sniff for a few minutes. .

    You say that you walk your dogs on short leads and one in each hand. I don't, I hold the two leads in one hand and both dogs walk on the same side. I use 2 metre long leads and holding the leads in one hand leaves my other hand free to control one or both dogs and prevent them from wandering all over the place by shortening or lengthening, either one or both leads (if that makes sense?).

    I also find because they're walking together they tend to stop and sniff at the same blade of grass or whatever, rather than going off at a tangent and doing their own thing!

    A photo taken when I first had Grisha (the white fing) and he was learning to walk nicely with his older brother!

    DSC02152.JPG
     
  15. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Hope he feels better soon.
     
  16. Bugsys grandma

    Bugsys grandma PetForums VIP

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    Thank you.,
    I've been really worried about him.
    I slept downstairs with him for a few nights cos he wouldn't come up the stairs to bed, it was too painful for him.
    He's on the mend now though, just taking it slowly.

    Hope your boys are both feeling better.
     
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  17. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    They are on the mend thank goodness it’s such a worry.
     
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  18. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    This is a good way to start - I would suggest you have the few minutes sniff at the start of the walk and then ask them for a 'walk-on' perhaps initially for 15 paces - then reward their nice walking with a sniff (when training, I say 'go sniff') - then repeat - and over a couple of weeks the training allows some sniff time ( when you stop) and lots of forward walking.

    I'm sure it's a matter of preference but non of my dogs pull to sniff when on a short lead - they are simply trained not to do so and as such all walk on a loose lead - can you imagine a service dog pulling their handler across to sniff a random post or tree. It just can't happen. I, too walk multiple dogs at one time and it would be mayhem if free sniffing was the norm. My friend trained her large (male) dog not to sniff at random after being dragged over to sniff poo bins too many times. :rolleyes: He walks like a dream now.

    My dogs all go off lead in fields and woods where they can scent and chase and leave messages to their hearts content.

    J
     
  19. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Same here, mine are off leash so much I don't think it's a that much to ask of them that when they are on leash they not sniff every 2 steps.
    If they're off leash they can sniff to their heart's content. On leash they're definitely not allowed to yank me over to sniff something, that's just bad leash manners. Depending on the area I may allow some minor sniffing, but generally leashed walking is to get from point A to point B so there's not a lot of dawdling allowed. They're totally fine with this.

    I'm not sure I entirely agree with this analogy. Dogs smell incredibly well. They don't need to stick their whole nose in to every clump of grass to still get the general idea of what's going on. They get plenty of information air scenting, and also, not all dogs work scent in the same way. There are indeed nose to the ground types, but not all dogs are like that. Lots of dogs like to air scent and look about instead of nose to the ground.

    Also bears mentioning that sometimes sniffing is a displacement behavior. The dog who just found something super interesting to smell may not be smelling something interesting at all but simply displacing conflict or confusion. An example would be the dog who sees another dog, kind of wants to play, but maybe a little intimidated, also knows the human on the end of the leash might yell at him for barking like he wants to and "OMG I just can't! Oh this grass smells really good!"
     
  20. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I am another who do not let my dogs sniff when on the lead. Though I have never taken a dog for a pavement walk, only to get from A to B. As far as I am concerned they get plenty of free time to sniff though even on off lead walks I walk briskly and they have to keep in my vicinity. When on a short lead they walk beside me.
     
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