As most people who read my blog know I have 3 Yorkshire terriers.
Rocky (dad), Stardust (mum) & Herbie their boy. Herbie was the first born and the only survivor from the first litter Rocky & Stardust had. He was so big in the womb that he had to be taken out by a cesarean section operation, so his pedigree name became ROCKSTAR YORKIE CHUNK!!
One of his traits is an incredible nose, he can scent find any hidden treat or find a treat in a brain training game within seconds. He uses his nose to "read" people and find out who they are and makes his mind up very quickly if he wants to be near them or not. He is a family only dog and doesn't tend to mingle when out on a walk, he just enjoys being with us and his mum & dad.
Being a small dog, he uses his nose to sniff peoples shins in a crowd to find my wife ( his favourite human), he walks up to them, gives a quick sniff and if its not her he moves on until he finds her, not through sight but purely through scent.
Dogs use their senses in this order: NOSE, EYES, then EARS, whereas us humans use them in a completely different way: EYES, EARS,NOSE. Scent is so important to a dog because when they are born it's the only sense they have, the ears take about 3 weeks to open and the eyes 2 weeks to open, so the nose is the only thing they can use to find mum with the milk or their siblings to snuggle with for warmth and protection.
A dogs sense of smell is between 1000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than human beings depending on breed type.
Dogs have 300 million Olfactory receptors compared to our 6 million. This is how they process smells so accurately to how we do and can seek out and pinpoint things.
They can sniff and breath out at the same time by using the small slits in the side of the nose, this makes their brain able to process what is coming in whilst they still breath.
Anyway what has any of this to do with the title of this blog? Herbie really didn't want a haircut!
It was the day, Herbie's hair had got so long and shaggy he looked more like one of the hair bear bunch.
My wife walked him to the groomers that day, we usually pop him round in the car but it was a nice day so she decided to walk. They set off down the road, through an alleyway that ran along the side of the allotments and had to cut across a large field area and then along the roads. Herbie scented at many lamp posts, trees & bushes along the route, also smelling Jackie's position all the way. They arrived at the groomers and went inside. Jackie had a chat and then left.
Herbie had been here so many times and always behaved well and enjoyed the grooming experience. But today was about to take a turn no one expected.
A delivery man came to the door, he knocked but nobody heard, so he opened the front door and stepped in to drop off the parcel. As he did so, Herbie, obviously already missing his human mum saw the gap in the door and went through it. once he realised he was outside he started to walk up the road. In the meantime the groomer came into her hallway to see a delivery man and a front door wide open. "where is the little dog?" she asked him, all she got back was a shrug of the shoulders. She rushed past him and out onto the path just in time to see Herbie trot around the corner and out of sight. She screamed to him and gave chase but he was on his way and moving quickly. He disappeared.
I first knew about this when the groomer phoned me in a panic informing me that Herbie had "done a runner". I felt so sorry for her as it wasn't her fault and the panic of losing someone else's beloved pets is frightening. I kept calm and said I'm heading home as I was nearby.
If you remember, Herbie had scented at certain places on his walk earlier. This now became his beacons flashing before him showing him the way home.
In the time from receiving the frantic phone call and driving back to my house Herbie had followed his nose and at speed ran along the roads, across the fields, up an alleyway around the roads again and arrived at his front door as i pulled my car onto the drive.
He was panting but looked very happy with himself that he had navigated his journey so effectively. I scooped him up in my arms, relieved that he hadn't become a missing dog, we cuddled and I spoke to him about what he had done in a soft happy voice. Then we went back to the groomers so he could finally get his new hairdo!!
This story reinforced for me the importance of when our dogs leave and check their "peemail", yes it's for others to know about them and it's about territory claiming but on that odd occasion it also helped Herbie find his way home too.
When you next walk your dog, I wouldn't let them stop you at every spot they want to stop at, as they control the walk by doing so, but definitely give them time to sniff and scent along the way.
Oh! and by the way Herbie had his haircut and looked very smart indeed.