Just like all Mammals dogs have basic 5 senses, smell, hearing, touch, taste and vision. Dogs hearing and smelling sense is more dominant than the rest. But there are significant uses of all 5 senses in dogs life. Let us divide these and give a short introduction on each sense below.
Dog’s most dominating sense is smell. The dog’s snout is designed to capture scent which is practically impossible for humans to sniff out. Smelling efficiently does allot of complicated jobs for dogs such as finding food, mate, marking territory, identifying pack mates, recognizing moods etc. The design of the snout changes from breed to breed and although all dogs basically have exceptional sniffing power, some breeds are still better at it compared to others.
Dogs are genetically programmed and biologically equipped to distinguish smells out of a mixture of many more dominant scents. More like how we can identify a slightest change of colors from a mixture of many. For instance if you are cooking pizza, for you the smell is of Pizza but dogs can smell each ingredient individually and focus on the one it likes irrespective of its concentration level. Another example is of sniffer dogs who can find the scent it is trained to even if it is covered with much more dominant set of smells.
The Blood hound is known to be the best at sniffing when compared to any other breeds. It’s said that blood hound contains 3 times more scent receptors than all other dog breeds and a unique physical design that helps it.
Dogs hearing sense is almost as sensitive as smelling. Dogs can hear frequencies from 40 to 60000 hertz. This does not make the usual sounds that we can here far louder for dogs. The hearing volume largely remains the same. It is said that dogs can here a slightest noise made while moving around the house far more efficiently then humans can. Dogs have the ability to pin point the exact location of the sound, discriminate between sounds and make accurate interpretation of the sounds to determine if it is threatening or not.
Some research proved that dogs can identify difference in the engine sound generated by their owner’s car to that of the same model of other cars. With a slight noise in the kitchen dog can know if he is getting something to eat or not. The slightest sound of the leash will be interpreted by the dog as signs walk or playtime. The dogs can very efficiently memorize routine sounds and relate it to the actions that will follow. These are just few examples of what dogs can do with their hearing power.
One can say that hearing is the second most dominant sense of dogs. But the sensitivity range of hearing varies from breed to breed as well. Its believed that dogs with long droopy earns can hear lesser when compared to dogs with erect pointed ears such as German shepherd and Siberian husky.
For a long time most scientists believed that dogs are color blind. The latest research in the canine science suggests that dogs can see some limited colors. The dog’s eyesight is certainly not as sharp as its sense of hearing and smelling, but it suits a purpose. In wild (throughout the evolution and the domestication process) it was more essential for a dog to have efficient night vision, rather than seeing full range of colors.
Some scientists believe that at dusk the dog’s eyesight is at finest clarity, this is the ideal time for them to hunt. The dogs are genetically preprogrammed to detect slightest movements. Dog owners who play fetch with their dog have evidenced the ability of their dog to clearly see the toy while fetching. The eyes are very important tool for survival of any animal in wild or city.
Naturally blind animals can’t live in wild but domestication makes this possible for dogs. Luckily they can adapt well to rely on their other senses. However, it is a challenge to keep a blind dog going and with some permanent changes around one can train them to find their way through the house and identify people thought, touch, smell and sound.
Canine science believes that dog’s taste buds are not as developed as of humans. Dogs can only identify taste as good or bad. Some dogs are not at all picky of the food they eat. Many dog owners have noticed that their dogs eat just about anything, irrespective of how it tastes and at times even reported dogs eating feces of other animals or dogs. No one really knows why, may be for some additional nutrition requirements which their nose may be identifying. Well, May be the taste is not important to dogs as it is to fill their stomach.
On the other hand we also have dogs that are very choosy about what they eat and will eat only things that taste good to them, irrespective of how you find the taste to be. Dogs can differentiate between sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty taste. Some dogs really enjoy strong flavors such as onions, raw garlic and sometimes even chili, while others only accept a determined flavor and totally deny trying any other kind.
The dogs touch may be slightly less or equal to that of humans. Dogs and humans have a similar social structure and it will be safe to assume that touch is as important to dogs as to humans. For dogs it is the most important act of socializing with their family and other dogs. Dogs love to socialize and play and the touch creates the bonding which is required for a social animals.