The Basics of Canine Senses
A dog’s nervous and sensory systems are essential to his health and well-being. Perceptions and reactions to his environment are dependent on his senses; movement is controlled through the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord); and the endocrine system (the hormone-producing glands) controls his patterns of behaviour.
Canine vision is inferior to human during the day, but is superior at night. Dogs do see colours, but not as distinctly as humans (in pastel as opposed to strong colours), and their peripheral vision is better than ours. In addition to the upper and lower eyelids, there is a third eyelid – the nictitating membrane (haw), which is comprised of a thin sheet of pale tissue tucked away in the corner of the eye. Its function is to help remove dust and dirt from the surface of the eye (cornea) by moving across it during any inward movement, and also to help keep the eyeball moist and lubricated.
A dog’s hearing is vastly superior to that of a human and he is, therefore, more sensitive to sounds than we are – especially those at high frequencies which we cannot hear (hence the use of ‘silent’ dog whistles). A dog’s mobile ears help to pinpoint the source of a sound, since they can be directed towards it.
A dog’s primary sense is his sense of smell, as it is essential in relation to his sex life and hunting for food and water. The area in a dog’s nose for detecting scent is nearly 37 times larger than that in humans, and is approximately 100 times more powerful than a human’s. The parts of the brain that process signals coming in from the nose are far greater in size and complexity in a dog than are the corresponding parts of the human brain.
The Puppy and the car
It seems that most dogs are as addicted to riding in a car as their human partners, but this fact does not obligatory apply to the little Puppy.
Some Puppies seem to have the same problem with the acclimatization to this kind of locomotion as little children. Puppies tend to throw up quite easily on a car ride, as in many cases their last meal does not date back that long, or their sense of smell is simply irritated by gas and oil malodor.
As soon as your new Puppy got used to his new home and is feeding well, get your pet used to riding a car. Firstly you might just sit in there together and have a little play time. The second step is to start doing short rides. You better do this with a second person to distract the little dog for the time of the journey. Drive very slowly and a good option is to stop at a park or meadow for a play time or a short walk.
Seeing Eye Dogs and Drug Sniffing Dogs
Dogs are certainly amazing and versatile animals. When you are in the process of training a dog and are getting a bit discouraged, you might take a moment to consider those two highly specialized trained dogs, the drug sniffing dog and the seeing eye dog.
The first school for Seeing Eye dogs was established in Potsdam, Germany shortly after World War I. The idea was to train German shepherds to assist men blinded in the war. An American lady living in Switzerland learned of the school and wrote an article about it that was published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1927.
This led to the establishment of the first American Seeing Eye dog school in 1929. Over the years, the school has practiced a selective breeding program to improve the quality of dogs that are trained to act as companions and eyes for blind people all over the World. It is the tremendous loyalty of the dog to its owner that is the key ingredient in this type of advanced training.