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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Nose Knows: How Dogs Use Sense

  One of the main ways that dogs communicate is with their sense of smell. they sniff other dogs to learn about their age, sex, and status. They can even tell a lot about a person's mood by the way he smells. A dog's sense of smell is up to a million times more sensitive than a human's.
  Dog's can detect scents we don't even know exist, and they can identify the faintest of smells, even when they're heavily masked by other scents. Dog's can smell things humans can't because they have more nasal membrane than we do. The nasal membrane is packed with olfactory receptors which are nerve endings that send messages to the brain in order for an odor to be detected.
  Dog's have another advantage. Their noses are always wet. It is believed that the moisture acts like Velcro, trapping scent molecules as they waft by. Along with the sticky mucus in the nasal passages, this allows dogs to collect and store large numbers of molecules as they pass by the nose. A dog's nostrils act like little antennas. dogs wiggle them to collect scents and figure out where they're coming from.
  When dogs raise their leg and urinate they are leaving a message behind to other dogs. This scent mark is unique to each dog just as fingerprints are to humans. When another dog comes by and sniffs these scent messages. These scent messages tell a dog about the originator's age, sex, and status.
  A dog's wagging tail communicates his demeanor but also plays a role in dog communication. Every time a dog moves his tail, it acts like a fan and spreads his scent.  Dogs have glands under their tail called anal glands. These glands contain an odoriferous liquid that's unique to each dog. We have all seen the meeting of two dogs during which they "exchange" information by sniffing under each others' tail. While this form of greeting is a little uncomfortable for the dog owners, it's important that the two dogs get the necessary information about each other to know where they stand with their new acquaintance. From the details they get they can tell how they should, or should not, continue the interaction. Every time the tail moves, the muscles around the anus contract, pressing on the glands, releasing the scent. A dominant dog who carries his tail high will release much more scent than a submissive dog who holds his tail lower.
  One of the reasons a nervous, frightened, or submissive dogs hold their tails between their legs is to prevent other dogs from sniffing them. It's their way of trying to fad into the background and not draw attention to themselves.
  Dog's also recognize their human's scents along with the smells of all the other people he's been introduced to. Experts refer to this as the dog's "scent memory". These memories are associated with the dog's experience with the person whether it was positive or negative.
  Believe it or not, a dog can tell a lot about your mood just by your smell. A person's body odor is blieved to change depending on his or her mood, and dogs are thought to be able to pick up on this.
 There are some smells that dog's dislike. Among these are citrus smells, such as lemon, lime, and orange, and spicy smells like red pepper. They particularly dislike the smell of citronella, which is why it's often used in spray form to keep dogs away from certain areas.There are odors dogs love that their owners really wished they didn't, such as the smell of trash or garbage.
    Some dogs, such as bloodhounds and German shepherds are known for their sense of smell. It's believed that a bloodhounds long ears help collect scent and pull it toward their nose as they move their nose along the ground. These dogs are often used as scent dogs for rescue as well as for drug or bomb sniffing missions.
   Come back in a few days to learn more about how dog's communicate. Until then please visit Your Family Pet to learn more about dogs and other pets such as cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs.


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