The dog's senses

May 12 , 2021

The dog's senses

All the information we have about the world begins with sensations.

The senses that may have more relevance in the canine world are three, sight, hearing and smell, which have been of great use to humans, as they are used for hunting. These senses allow the dog to know and encode the stimuli coming from his environment and couple it to his experience and his reality. These meanings and characteristics are detailed below:

   The vision

It is not characterized by great visual acuity, but by the ease of perceiving movements. It has excellent night vision, due to the use of the tapetum lucidum (a reflective screen of the eye), very large pupils and a faster blink rate. The visual field of the dog is greater than that of the human.

Like most mammals, dogs are dichromate and have color vision equivalent to red-green color blindness in humans. Long-snouted dogs have an excellent field of vision, while short-snouted dogs have more detailed eyesight, similar to humans.

  The sense of smell

It is the most developed sense of dogs, they have between 150 and 300 million olfactory cells (depending on the breed, with Bloodhounds having 300), compared to the 5 million that we have. At birth, this sense is what helps the puppy to find his mother, since both sight and hearing are not yet developed. They use their scent to identify with each other.

They can distinguish odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than what humans can.

From the point of view of training, smell has been used for tasks of a wide spectrum, among them: to detect diseases, to detect pests, to search for explosives, drugs, mines buried in the ground, money in cash, etc.

From a canine education point of view, smell can be used as a working area in cognitive behavioral intervention techniques. You can find cases of dogs with fear, anxiety or reactivity where a part of the work to be done is related to smell, for example with the accessory that we mention below:

This is the great smell mat for dogs that develop natural foraging abilities and relieves stress. You can hide bits of food on the scent mat to create a search exercise for your DOG:

                                             Olfactory mat for dogs


   The ear

It is much more developed than in humans. A puppy's hearing begins to function between 10 and 15 days, and it becomes the second most developed sense of the dog after smell.

Dogs have very large auricles, a great capacity for orientation and speed to detect the source of a sound and can hear sounds at a distance up to 4 times greater than humans.

Dogs with a more natural ear shape, such as the ears of wild canids such as foxes, tend to hear better than dogs with the looser ears typical of many domestic breeds.

  Touch and taste

Dogs do not have a highly developed sense of touch, the fabric of their foot pads does not allow them to collect very precise information.

The dog perceives sensations such as cold, heat or pain through the skin. He also has sensory hairs located above his eyes, on his lower jaw, on his cheeks, and on his lips that help him find his way in the dark.

Regarding the sense of taste, there is not much information. Dogs are known to have poor taste and what really makes them enjoy a meal is smell.

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