Dog’s smelling power is 10000 times more than ours, we often hear. We also read that all dogs can sniff and know your approach from a distance of 700 feet, without seeing you and some breeds like Labrador retrievers sniff the owner’s from more than a two kilometer. How does he perform this feat? Amazing isn’t it?
Well a dog is able to do all this as the area of his brain that analyses all the smells and stores them in his memory is forty times larger than ours. It is like comparing a computer with large disc memory with a smaller device like a cell phone. The cell phone naturally has its limitations. It can store phone numbers and names but it cannot store a bio-data of all the people.
So powerful is his smelling apparatus that a dog’s life revolves around smell from the moment he is born. Initially when his eyes are not formed the blind pup is guided only by the smell towards the teat and also comforted by the smell of his dam close by. The dam on the other hand makes use of her nose to find out the condition of the pups and also keeps a tab on the visitors in the house. If she smells a stranger in the drawing room she may even bark from a distance may be behind the closed doors of her kennel/room! Once the puppies grow and they begin to leave the dam one by one, from the missing smell she can make out which one has gone. She keeps sniffing the remaining ones.
Nature has its own ways. If the puppies are separated from the dam at four weeks the dam may whimper after a dear one has gone. But if they are separated around eight weeks then she doesn’t show any emotion beyond sniffing for the missing one. Even that ritual is forgotten in another week’s time. Perhaps she knows that the puppies have gone to a better place! A dam rearing the litter on the garbage dump on the roadside, tries to protect her puppies fiercely as long as they are not able to follow her. Around four to five weeks they are able to trail her, as she ventures out in search of food. In the process many get crushed under the vehicles. The bitch just makes a count once the litter assembles at the safe spot on the garbage and then seems to forget the loss! May be she mourns internally!
In the new home the puppy sniffs around, trying to identify the place and the people. In the process he also marks his territory by urinating at the most embarrassing locations. Poor pup goes by the instinct only which tells him to ‘mark the spot’ so that he can stake a claim over his area. But on the other hand instinct tells him not to soil his ‘lair’ or the cage. Thus if you have a cage before the arrival of the new pup and the moment he arrives, place him in his cage. During the initial days the pup would mostly eat and sleep. Take him out after meals and after each bout of sleep and he will learn his first lesson that these humans don’t like their house to be messed up. They are fast learners.
It is the sense of smell only that tells your pup which is the right place for him to evacuate. Guided by that he makes a beeline to the spot the moment he is able to move firmly on his legs. Remember, initially you have to take him to spot and he learns fats to go to that spot on his own very soon. Most people crib that their pup is now three months (or even older) still pees around the house! Yes he is bound to do that because you have not been able to fathom his uncanny sense of smell. If he marks a spot in the house he is bound to soil it repeatedly.
The pup fast learns smells of each one in the family and knows them by their odor and of course also from the tone of their voice. The odor of the one whom considers his leader is deeply engrained in his computer (brain). Even if a four months pup is sound asleep and the owner sits near him without touching the pup in majority of cases the pup would open his eyes, confirm and then go back to sleep again.
Problem comes when the owners go out of the house for a movie, leaving the pup alone for long duration. Or the owners are a working couple. For such owners it is good idea to leave the most ‘smelly’ item of their clothing or a pillow cover or a used blanket in the cage of the pup. The smell of which comforts the pup that the owner is around and he feels confident. The same formula should be used when you leave your dog with a boarding kennel. Apart from his bed, bowl and toys, also place the ‘smelly’ pillow cover at the boarding. It would sooth the bewildered pup a bit.
A grown up dog uses his prowess in locating a mate for himself or a bitch goes on advertising her condition by urinating in tiny drops over large areas around your house and makes a wide arc at the entrance to the house. The arc ensures larger number of ‘suitors’ to throng the house.
The nature has its own concepts of advertising and dogs seem to understand and use it well for their race to survive.
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