Did you know how far away dogs can hear? Have you ever wondered if they can distinguish colors or if they see black and white? Has there ever been a doubt about why their olfactory capacity is so developed? How come they put everything they find in their mouths? And what is your dog’s sixth sense?
Canine ethology is the science that allows us to explore the inside of the dog and discover fascinating things about their senses. In the following article you will discover some curiosities about the senses of your pet, and you will learn in detail what you need to know about the five senses plus the sixth sense of your dog.
The sense of smell
Smell is the most developed and important sense in dogs. In fact, these animals possess an olfactory capacity almost 260 times higher than that of man, not to mention that there are races in which this sense is more developed than others. These types of dogs have always been used for hunting and herding, while nowadays they are mostly used as police dogs; this is the case of the German Shepherd or the iconic dog of the an insurance agency.
At birth, dogs are blind and deaf, so it is the sense of smell that helps them survive. Thanks to this sense, the puppies are able to find their mother’s udder and keep themselves next to her until they are able to survive on their own. For dogs, every object smells different, which helps them to distinguish every single element. Dogs are also able to store information related to smells in their minds, so they will be able to recognize a person after years of not seeing them.
As we have already mentioned, at birth the puppy is deaf, and this sense is not activated before ten days of life. A dog’s hearing is 16 times stronger than that of a human being, and can detect a minimal sound (like a pencil falling to the ground) at a distance of 20 meters. Furthermore, it is known that dogs possess a much wider auditory perception than humans. This means that they are able to perceive frequencies that are impossible for a person to hear, and it is for this reason that there are special whistles for dogs.
Sight in puppies develops from ten days of age, as does hearing. And just as with the sense of smell, there are dog breeds with more developed eyesight than others.
Dog eyes are flatter than human eyes, making them more sensitive to movement. However, precisely because of this characteristic, dogs have less peripheral vision and a lesser sense of depth, as well as not seeing very well from a distance (up to 5-6 meters away).
Unlike what is believed in popular traditions, dogs do not see in black and white but are able to distinguish colors perfectly , even if in a different way than humans. The man is able to identify the three primary colors, while the dog recognizes only two; for this reason, it will not be able to distinguish every single shade of color.
The sense of touch
This is the least developed sense in dogs, which does not mean that it is unimportant. In fact, at the time of training, caresses are fundamental. Touching a dog the wrong way can cause bad habits and behaviors in the animal. Furthermore, the degree of sensitivity it perceives is different in every part of the body: the most sensitive areas in dogs are the muzzle, lips, nose, paws, testicles, thighs and neck.
Like humans, dogs can also differentiate between 5 types of flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and metallic. However, dogs do not taste the food they eat, they just ingest it after chewing it. This is due to the fact that their sense of taste is not as developed, and is used more than to taste food, to recognize objects.
The sixth sense
The sixth sense in dogs is related to their extrasensory ability to detect the presence of ghosts, the time, the intentions of people or the imminent advent of seismic activity.