Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Nose Knows

A dog makes sense of the world around him, through his nose. Inside his nose are 125 to 300 million olfactory receptors. The nerves in the nasal membrane travel to a specialized olfactory lobe in the brain. In addition to that, in his nasal cavity, above the roof of his mouth behind the top incisors, is Jacobson’s organ. This is a vomeronasal organ that communicates to the hypothalamus and can detect pheromones.
One of my male goldens, Beckham possess scent discrimination that is impeccable and acute. He is the one that find treats in my pockets, where I thought there were none. He can detect a female in season, 5 days before there is any evidence. The resident doctor, he examines every dog in our home, looking for the most obscure hot spot. He can detect the tiniest tick under the thickest golden coat- I have finally learned to stop doubting his abilities. Anything out of the ordinary-- a small cut or skin rash-- he will find and "tend" to. He would be a great dermatologist! Other times, I envision him as a parfumeur createur; blending citron with bay rum & bergamot. Better yet, as an enologist with a glass of chardonnay that has,"pineapple and citrus notes-- buttery with toasted oak bouquet." He has turned perfect sniffing into an art form!
If you have never had the opportunity to watch the scent discrimination exercise in Utility, make it a point to do at your next show. How amazing is it, that the dog can find that one article with the owner’s scent on it, in a pile of metal & leather?
Like a pilot learning to trust the instruments, we as dog owners need to trust the dog. After all, the nose knows best!

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