Sniffing is a dog’s birth right. Dogs sniff to gather crucial information. To understand which dog is friendly, who is an alpha and who can be a potential sweetheart. Now think about it – what will happen if you let a dog into a sniffing paradise?
Simple, you’ll have a tail wagging happy dog. That’s what UAE-based pet care concept The Sniffari Den is all about, a sniffing paradise for dogs. Having studied canine behaviour, Suad Khalil the human behind The Sniffari Den, was always keen to set up a safe space for dogs, especially nervous, anxious and senior dogs. So, she launched The Sniffari Den in April 2021.
What is the Sniffari Den all about?
Suad: It’s a place where dogs can feel safe, comfortable and enjoy a truly sensory experience. The Den or the sensory room is filled with fun and exciting things, handpicked to provide a healthy dose of mental enrichment to stimulate all their senses. Dogs will have the opportunity to unleash their senses by exploring the room, investigating and searching for delicious treats, tackling new objects and solving tasks. While dog parents will get to sit back, watch and get to learn more about their dog’s behaviour and skills. This type of activity helps dogs to feel calm by releasing endorphins. It is great for confidence building and an awesome boredom buster.
Who/what inspired you to set up The Sniffari Den?
Suad: The story goes back to our two rescued dogs Nala and Naji who inspired us to set up The Sniffari Den. We wanted to use enrichment activities to help them build bond and boost confidence, coupled with behaviour modification training. Since we do a lot of enrichment activities with Nala and Naji, I constantly educate myself through online courses to deploy fun and effective ways of going about it. There are many ways of enrichment over and above offering a puzzle game or food dispenser to a dog. That’s what we want to offer through The Sniffari Den.
How do you touch the lives of dogs and their humans with The Sniffari Den?
Suad: We’ve many returning guests because they can see how their dogs benefitted from a session at The Sniffari Den. They can see how joyful their dogs are from the moment they enter the Den, the freedom they have to a be dog. Imagine if 15 minutes of sniffing or enrichment is equivalent to 60 minutes of physical activities, at The Sniffari Den we offer 60 minutes of enrichment. The reason we do that is because not every dog will start right away, some will take time and need breaks in between. While some dogs will use up the entire 60 minutes. Several four-legged anxious and nervous dogs have made wonderful progress by attending our sessions.
How often and where do you hold the sessions?
Suad: We run the sessions out of the Doggy Be space in Al Quoz. Since the sessions are highly customised based on every dog’s unique needs, we don’t have a fixed schedule. We work based on the number of requests and bookings. However, going forward, I will try to do the sessions at least once a week.
What are some of the best things you’ve heard about The Sniffari Den?
Suad: Every time we hear that a dog has had a great time at The Sniffari Den it makes our day. Some of the best things we’ve heard are: “My dog passed out and still sleeping, thank you so much! I never knew that he likes such activities. We need more slots!” “I have learned so much about my dog in this 60 mins.”
The Sniffari Den is operated by MyPetBuddy, a concept that is also run by Suad and her husband along with their treats brand Nom Nom Pet Treats.