Your Dog's World
Have you ever wondered why your dog becomes so excited when you go for a walk? An open meadow or field seems to capture their attention. They put their nose to the ground and rush through the undergrowth exploring everything. They might stop for a moment to inspect a bush or a tall stand of grass, and then they move on, seeming to engage a world which we humans are unable to perceive. What do they see that we don't?
A dog's world is filled with a mist of fragrances. Nature has provided them with an incredible sensory system. Imagine the world around you as a blank art canvas, and then visualize everything your dog smells as a discrete color. A bird streaks overhead and a stroke of blue moves across your canvas. A field mouse skitters by your feet and flecks of red paint mark their path. Large green spots show your footsteps as you tromp through the vegetation. In your dog's mind a vibrant picture takes form. The fragrances create a time lapse photograph revealing to your dog what is currently going on in the meadow, and what has happened over the last few hours and days. You and your dog share the same physical world, but how you and your dog perceive that world is incredibly different.
For millions of years the ancestors of your dog have used this incredible sense of smell to hunt their prey. We can present your dog with a few tracking activities which will allow them to express this primal drive in a fun and satisfying form. Take a handful of kibble and toss it across a one meter area on your lawn. Tell your puppy to search. Watch the enthusiasm they bring to this task. Your dog will love it!
Another exciting dog game involves placing a small dog treat in each of your steps as you walk across a field. Get your dog to retrace your footsteps and find the food treats. When your dog is finding most of the treats, make the "track" longer. Place treats in every second or third step. Your dog will soon use the steps that don't have treats as markers to help them to solve the age old canine challenge, "which way did they go?"
If you watch carefully you may begin to understand how the wind, the terrain, and the environment interplay with the scents. And if you are really lucky, you may get a fleeting glimpse of - Your Dog's World.Noel Pepin -- Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists