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The Sensory Yard Series: Creating a K9 Sensory Sniffy Wall For Our Dogs

A dog's senses are much more than meets the eye.

Touch, Taste, Scent, Sight, Sound - each sense has a unique purpose and place in a dogs daily life and within their K9 history. As a result, when renovating our Sensory Yard for our two dogs, we planned everything in the yard around their 5 senses.

So, let's talk about scent!

A dog's nose is a key element in how they "see" and interact with the world around them. Think of a sniffing dog as a dog on a mental treadmill; each little sniff may look ordinary, but with each twitch of the nose, your dog is decoding their environment.

Not only do dogs have a much higher number of scent receptors than humans, but according to Victoria Schade (CPDT-KA), dogs devote 40x more brain power to decoding scents than humans do.

Additionally, Martha Knowles from Silent Canine Conversations states,

Scent is the predominant way in which dogs make sense of their world. Sniffing is vital to the way dogs gather information and interact with their environment.

As a result, sniffing plays a vital role in your dogs mental and physical health. In fact, Graham et al's study shows that scents in a sheltered setting can decrease stress and as a result, potentially create a higher adoption rate in kenneled dogs.

Now that we've gone over why scent is important, let's talk about the K9 Sniffing Station in our Sensory Yard.

When creating our sensory yard, I knew I wanted lots of dog safe herbs and plants around to keep the space exciting for their ever-busy noses.

I collected the following plants to use in our yard based on dog-friendliness:

  • Columbines

  • Irish/Scotch Moss

  • Campanula

  • Snap Dragons

  • Viola's (pansy)

  • Ferns

  • Marigolds

  • Lavender

  • Lilacs

  • Basil

  • Thyme

  • Dill

  • Parsley

  • Mint

  • Rosemary (not recomended for dogs with seizure disorders)

Now, let's get hangin!

What You'll Need:

  • Terra Cotta Pots (Your choice in size - 4" to 8" per bracket)

  • Terra Cotta Pot Holding Brackets (I used these ones, here)

  • A space to secure them (we used 2x4x8 wood pieces and 2x4 Fence Rail Brackets from Home Depot to secure them in our fencing).

Other Options:

  • Hanging Vertical Gardens (like this one on Amazon)

  • Planters & in ground scent stations

Before & After:


Simply screw in your Terra Cotta pot holders wherever your heart desires, fill up your pot, and voila!

For us, we measured our fence and added additional 2x4 panels equally spaced, secured by the fence rail brackets. This way, any screws we used wouldn't poke out the other side of the fence (Sharp nail ends poking out wouldn't be the neighbourly thing to do!).

Once that was ready, we measured where we wanted our pots to hang and hung the pot brackets equally apart.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we talk about our textured, sensory rock garden for pups in our sensory yard renovation.




The influence of olfactory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue shelter - ScienceDirect

The behavioural effects of olfactory stimulation on dogs at a rescue shelter - ScienceDirect

Importance of allowing your dog to sniff - Dog Communication - Silent Conversations

The Importance of 'Scent Walks' for Dogs | PetMD


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