How Dogs See with Their Noses

How Dogs See with their NosesDid you know dogs “see” the world mostly through their noses? Their vision is not as sharp as ours, but they more than make up for it by with their sense of smell. A dog has 300 smell receptors compared to your 5! (that’s a LOT of smelling)

According to Alexandra Horowitz dogs also smell in stereo – meaning they can capture different smells in each nostril coming from opposite directions. They can also smell a variety of hormones, as well as stress and fear. Also- dogs can smell time: for example the smell of a room will change depending on the time of day.

Another handy fact: A dog’s sense of smell goes directly to his limbic system (the emotional center) and this quickly changes HOW THE DOG FEELS. For example, a stressed dog can be calmed down by tracking a trail of treats or by following where that squirrel ran this morning.

Now that you know how important your dog’s nose is – try these games:

  • Play Find-it by hiding treats around the house or yard
  • Take a “smell walk” and let Fido lead the way
  • Carry smelly treats on walks (ie: feta cheese) to help with “no pulling”
  • Hide your dog’s favorite toy on your walk so he finds it on the way home
  • Can you think of other ways to use your dog’s nose? I’d love to hear!

Click here to watch TEDed and learn “how dog’s see with their noses” by Alexandra Horowitz.