Do you use sniffing as a reward?
Do you say no sniffing, no how?
I do all three, depending on the situation. Sounds confusing? Elka mostly has it straight. I've come to my criteria as we grew together.
See, if I let her, while we're on the 4 foot leash on the sidewalk, Elka will drag me to a street sign or a bush to smell. Or, she'll wait until we've almost passed it and stop dead in her tracks, as though she's suddenly tossed an anchor onto the sidewalk, which obviously brings me up short.
As a result, when we're on the sidewalk, preferably loose leash walking, I typically do not allow Elka to sniff. At the beginning of the walk, where all the world is new again and super exciting, I will allow sniffing as a reward. If she does not pull, if she does not pull up short, the very next one (and there's always a very next one) I say "go see".I just never used "sniff" as a word with her, so that's why "go sniff" isn't the cue. "Go see" just means "check it out" or "investigate". I also use it if she thinks something outside the window requires her attention, or if she wants to meet somebody. She sniffs for a bit, I say "all done" and we continue on. The short leash portions of our walk are kind of the "obedience" portions. We work on an automatic sit, I'll randomly down her, we use "wait" at every street crossing whether there is traffic or not.
In the park, however, on the long line, it's a different matter. The rules are different there; essentially, we keep moving, I (still) don't want any pulling, and I want a solid recall (different treats from the "loose leash" treats are in my pocket, and I also carry a tiny squeaky toy). If she wants to wander hither and yon, sniffing at the park, that's fine. But she will not pull me, she will keep up, and she will recall. It works out pretty well, actually.
(I'm going to start calling all my pictures like this "recall butt")
I haven't done any sort of scientific observation regarding this yet, but it seems like Elka is calmer when she sees/encounters other dogs if I've allowed her to sniff. Does anybody with dog reactive dogs (or undersocialized dogs, like mine) notice this? Or am I just making it up in my head? As we know, I'm fond of writing stories.
I'm interested in your responses!