Allowing a dog to utilise their acute sense of smell is important for their well-being, says Colin Spence, who runs dog training classes in Snaresbrook and now offers scent detection workshops for all breeds
Have you ever wondered why your dog likes to smell everything, especially when something is new to their home environment or out on their daily exercise? They will sniff practically anything they come across. This is so they can gather as much information from the environment around them as possible. Every sniff tells a story!
A dog’s nasal cavity is divided into two chambers. Both these chambers open into two nostrils, also known as nares, that can work independently and take in smells separately. When dogs are sniffing, particles and compounds get trapped in the nasal cavities by mucus and the scent receptor cells process the smells, giving the dog lots of information about the world around them.
A dog can have somewhere in the region of up to 300 million scent receptor cells, whereas we humans have around five million, so you can see why a dog’s nose is far superior to that of humans, and why dogs rely on their noses more than their sight. The sense of sight is of utmost importance in humans, so human brains spend more time interpreting visual data than smells. Dog brains are just the opposite, focusing on what the dog smells more than what they see.
So, when you next take your dog out to exercise, please allow them time to sniff and gather information from their environment, just like we do from the internet or social media! By allowing our dogs to sniff, they are being enriched with dopamine and feeling good and not stressed.
For decades now, man has used dogs and their wonderful noses to find missing people. And the police service still trains and uses dogs to find drugs and locate counterfeit money. In more recent times, we have even started using dogs to detect certain medical conditions, and even more recently, to detect COVID symptoms. We also have dogs that can detect bombs and so much more, which, when you think about it, is just so amazing.
The thing is, all dogs have the ability to be trained to find specific objects. It does not matter if it’s a young puppy or an older dog, or a dog that is challenged by its environment and dislikes humans or other dogs. They all have a nose and a great sense of smell, and enjoy using them daily.
Pet dogs can have fun learning and being mentally stimulated when trained in detecting lower level things, like the red Kong dog toy, cloves, gun oil, keys, mobile phones and much more. So, please allow your dogs to use that lovely nose of theirs and sniff away.
Colin’s K9 Training Services run scent detection workshops for dogs of all breeds and ages, alongside general puppy and dog training classes at the Scout Hut, 72 Hollybush Hill, Snaresbrook. For more information, visit wnstd.com/colinsk9