Yesterday morning after my youngest daughter woke up, she came into my bedroom and lounged beside me as I did my favorite Sunday morning ritual — drinking coffee and reading The New York Times in bed. I had worked my way through the funner sections and was reading an article about Croatian crime dramas when she asked, “why do dogs have such long noses?” I had a quick flash to the witch with great sense of smell and poor eyesight in the fairly tale of Hansel & Gretel. Then I thought about how to make a wise and analogous reply.
Finally I announced,”we use the internet, dogs use their noses.” And then I thought about what I had said as Sophie climbed down from the bed onto the floor and lay with the dogs. My little mixed pack settled in for a cuddle while I grabbed my laptop and did some internet searches with “how do dogs smell?” and “what about a dog’s nose?” in which there was this line…
You’ve probably noticed that dogs’ noses are usually wet on the outside. This moisture first attracts and then collects molecules from lots of places—the air, the ground and from objects. The reason a dog often licks its nose is to keep it moist.
And I thought, because they can. Lick their nose. They can lick their elbows too which apparently, according to my daughter Callie some small % of people can and she’s one of them; I’m not. I also learned studies conducted showing concrete evidence that dogs with car anxiety show great calming with lavender.
That reminded me of a recent site I stumbled on for herb filled collars and wondered if using that as an olfactory adjunct would aid in reducing manifestations of dog behavior that were unpleasant to me (mostly when Lily and Trip get over the top noisy whiny sometimes near-hysterical when getting ready to go for a walk OR when I try to increase their comfort with being locked outside for longer durations in the lovely fenced in backyard — perhaps it would work better than saying, “how many times do I have to tell you whining and carrying on is NOT what I want when readying you for a walk” Or another favorite, “why can’t you just be a dog who appreciates the opportunity to be outside WITHOUT ME BEING THERE?”
But this morning after I sort of patiently waited for them to be less crazed before heading out for a morning walk I realized that much like I get easily distracted when doing searches on the internet and can easily flick from topic to topic because I have fast internet access, I would allow them more opportunity this morning to use that heightened olfactory organ they each have at the end of their faces and allow them an opportunity to be on their own “computer” searches. So I did. And they learned a lot and left a lot of business cards and we all had a great time enjoying the warming weather and budding of plant life.