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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 6mo old lab. I know shes a hunting dog and instinctively wants to follow a scent.
But the other day my father wanted to take her for a walk in the woods, i let him. He said he tried everything but her nose did not leave the ground the whole time.
I had hopes of taking her hiking with me when she got older. So is she going to be trying to follow a scent the whole time if i do? Or do you guys think that she just wasnt use to walking with my father and tried to lead the way and with me itll be fine. Or how can i train her to not follow a scent when we are hiking? Thanks
 

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Nothing wrong with a sniffy dog. That's kinda something that dogs do. :p She's not necessarily following "a scent", but just sniffing all the interesting smells on the ground. Scents are a big source of enrichment in a dog's life.

If you really don't want her nose to the ground, you can distract her with a ball or treats. But I don't see anything inherently wrong with this. I'd take her to nose work or tracking classes to make use of that nose. :p
 

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i think you shouldn't forbid it all the time, because it is important to experience different smells for a young dog...but having a universal abort comand (with the meaning "stop what ever activity you're doing right now) can be very convenient.
best in combination with an alternative behaviour (for example of I say "cookie", stop whatever you're doing and look at me, because you get a cookie.).
 
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Unless she's running away to follow a scent, I don't see why it's a problem. I have 2 beagle mixes, and they sniff everything absolutely constantly. Especially hiking or on a walk, their noses never come off the ground. As long as they listen and stay close, I'm fine with it. I don't think I could possibly stop them sniffing, it's just what they were bred to do.

Sometimes they come upon a fresh scent, and if they try to follow, I tell them 'leave it' and they almost always do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I understand that its not a bad thing. Im completely okay with it as she is a hunting dog. However she does pull on the lead when she catchea a scent and will go off trail, as my father put it, she pulled him down a hill. Im not looking for that to happen when we go hiking when she gets a bit older
 

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Does she have an "off" or "leave-it" cue?
 

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I think that it sounds like she needs more consistent training with leash manners, a "leave it" cue, as well as good recall. My little guy isn't super consistent with recall yet, (though I admittedly haven't worked on that much), but he is great on leash and with "leave it" so even though he wants to sniff everything, he'll stay close when he feels the end of the leash or if I say "leave it".
 

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I think following a scent is like chewing on furniture. Labs have a lot of drive, as an owner you need to engage this drive and provide the metal and physical exertion that they require other wise that drive leads them to follow their nose or be destructive.

It's pretty normal that a 6mo puppy wants to explore everything, thats an age of lots of curiosity and energy. If you can harness that, and keep their attention you can probably keep them from following their nose off a cliff but just going on a lazy walk through the woods is not enough.
@Gnostic Dog 's suggestion is a great one. Personally I'd go for a tug toy since my experience with a ball is that they'll carry it in their mouth till they see or smell something interesting and then drop it at which point you have to pick it up or possibly end up chasing it down a hill if they drop it on a slope.
 

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I understand that its not a bad thing. Im completely okay with it as she is a hunting dog. However she does pull on the lead when she catchea a scent and will go off trail, as my father put it, she pulled him down a hill. Im not looking for that to happen when we go hiking when she gets a bit older
Oh, I see! Like those have stated, training a consistent "leave it" command is necessary across all situations such as this, combined with offering her a toy/ball/tug/food when her head snaps away from the scent or whatever she was paying attention to. Reward her big for "leaving it".
 

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She's young and smelling things she has never smelled. You got good advice above. This is going to take impulse control and months of practice.

Yes you should teach her a leave it command, but you need to find a way to make yourself more interesting during walks. Practice every day walking with he her, teaching a "watch me" command and rewarding her every time she looks at you. Each time make her look at you for a longer period of time before she gets the treat. You may want to try this at home first where there are less distractions before you take her out to the very exciting woods.

Again, she's young and she needs practice but when she gets it it will be glorious :)
 
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