Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Why Do Dogs Sniff Things?

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Why Does My Dog Pant?A dog's sense of smell is the most highly developed of all the dog's senses.

Dogs have 220 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared to a human's 5 million and they can sense odour concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can! For example, a dog can sense one tiny drop of blood in five quarts of water.

Your dog's nose is its pathway to the world around it. It is a means to exploring its environment and sniffing the pavement can tell it a whole wealth of information about which dog has passed by and where any potential food source is.

Wolves and wild dogs rely on their noses to survive. They use smell to decode scent messages left behind by other animals and following the trail will lead them to their next meal. They can smell approaching predators and of course they can detect a bitch ready for mating from great distances away.

For the dog, each human has their own scent. Your dog can recognise your scent amongst a hundred other humans even if he cannot see you. In a recent study twenty men followed each other walking exactly in each others footprints. They then hid behind walls at random. A dog belonging to one of the men was let loose to find its owner. The dog, without hesitating, ran straight to the wall behind which its owner was waiting.

Humans rely on the dog's awesome sense of smell to assist them in many ways. Dogs are used to sniff and locate anything from a dead body to earthquake survivors buried under tons of rubble. Dogs can be trained to use their keen sense of smell to track a criminal or a lost child, work with the hunter to locate prey or find a stash of drugs, cash or even ammunition.

Your dog is sniffing to maximise its detection of odours. It does this through a series of short rapid inhalations and exhalations. It is natural behaviour and one which makes the dog the fantastic human companion and life-saving tool that he is.


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