dogs sense of smell

Dogs can’t see or hear at birth but we can smell, the sense we rely on most throughout our life.

Hearing is our second most important sense, followed by sight. Purportedly, at least 33 percent of a dog’s brain is devoted to processing olfactory information while in humans that figure is closer to about five percent and our olfactory sense is approximately a hundred thousand to a million times more acute than a human’s. Tracking dogs use their noses to sniff out missing children, bombs, drugs and criminals. But for non-working pooches like me, I use my nose like my owner uses her eyes. When I go on walks, my owner likes to admire the neighbors’ gardens but I sniff to find out what other dogs were in the area before me. I mark my territory as a way of leaving my calling card.

Through my nose, I’m able to detect whether someone is a friend or foe. That’s why humans are taught to extend their hand first when approaching an unknown dog. Let us sniff for as long as necessary for us to make a determination about you. The same goes true for sniffing other dogs. Humans think their four-legged friends sniff each other as a greeting and in a sense that’s true. But we also discover the other dog’s gender, whether it’s a leader or follower, young or old. We like to sniff regardless of whether we play with the other pooch every day or have never seen it. We’re reminded who the dog is by its scent.

Pooches that don’t allow other dogs to sniff or growl when sniffed likely have a difficult time socializing with other dogs.