Sense of smell

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JudyN
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Sense of smell

Post by JudyN » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:48 pm

Occasionally Jasper's not overkeen on getting off my bed and onto his at night. When I can't tempt him off with his chicken chew, I turn it into a game. I show him the chew, say 'Hide and seek' and tell him he must wait while I hide the treat. Then I'll go and put the treat on or around his bed and say 'OK, find it!' I'm sneaky, I am :mrgreen:

Anyway, this treat is quite strong-smelling, it should be easy for him, but sometimes it can take him quite a while to find it and he really only has a few square feet to cover. I've noticed this with treats before... he knows it's somewhere very close, but takes a while to find the exact spot. A treat on gravel can be really quite challenging as it's well camouflaged visually. With a dog's sense of smell, shouldn't it be easy? Or is the smell spread fairly evenly over a small area around it? I keep telling him it's a good job he's not a spaniel.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Erica
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Re: Sense of smell

Post by Erica » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:02 pm

I read a book about cadaver detection dogs recently, called "What the Dog Knows," and it went into this a bit. From my novice understanding, because smell emanates from the object, it spreads out over an area. This page goes into it well -- scent isn't like a radar or metal detector. Air currents move the smell around, making it harder to find. The dog has to figure out where the strongest smell is, and then that may not be where the treat is! They'd have to navigate "uphill" (piled up blanket?) or upwind (small air current) to find it.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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Shalista
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Re: Sense of smell

Post by Shalista » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:44 pm

Also if you do this frequently i imagine there might still be smell lingering from treats stashed previous nights which could be confusing
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

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JudyN
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Re: Sense of smell

Post by JudyN » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:58 am

Interesting... it sounds like it's probably more like a case of 'warmer... warmer... colder... warmer', and maybe there's not that much difference between the smell exactly where the treat is and the smell a few inches away. I don't imagine air currents are a big factor in the corner of the bedroom.

He has a chew every night on his bed, though generally I hand it straight to him. It will mean there's a stronger aroma where his head usually is.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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