"Dogs do speak, but only to those who listen" - Orhan Pamuk
You (mere human) may be able to detect the smell of one teaspoon of sugar in your tea. Your dog can sniff out one teaspoon of sugar in TWO Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Scent just isn’t as important to us as humans, and as such we can sometimes neglect its importance to our dogs, which can in turn lead to communication issues.
Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses (ie. the things that detect the smells), versus only about 6 million in humans. In addition to this, the part of their brain dedicated to interpreting these is about 40 times larger than ours - a staggering 41% of it!
It's understandable, therefore, that from a neurological and evolutionary standpoint scent plays a huge part in your dog’s life and their noses have evolved to allow them to survive via: - communication
- safety and protection
- finding and staying together with family
- exploring their surroundings
The two functions of your dog's nose are scent and respiration and, according to research findings, it can separate air to be split between the two. As well as being able to sniff and breath simultaneously, dogs can breathe in and out at the same time allowing the airflow in their nose to remain continuous, AND smell separately with each nostril! The ability to sniff separately with each nostril allows dogs to create a "3D scent image" of their environment and better determine a scent's location.
Scentwork is a great way to engage your dog's sniffing ability for games and during training. Check out our LOCKDOWN TRAINING GUIDE TO SCENTWORK to get started teaching your dog to search for a scent and indicate to you once they've found it.