Thursday, November 18, 2004

Walking partner

This week, my four-year-old son has decided to join me in my nightly dogwalking routine. I thought this was most likely a random addition that would disappear as quickly as it appeared - but last night was the fourth night in a row he's joined me. And as soon as we get home, he starts asking when we're going for our walk. (This from a child who was supposedly afraid of walking in the dark just two weeks ago...go figure.)

So we're taking our walk last night, struggling for control of the dog leash, as usual. Quentin and Sassy, our black Lab, weigh about the same amount and he insists on holding the leash so a quite comical tug-of-war always ensues. Quentin has finally discovered that if he stands stock-still and plants his feet he can at least make her stop. The rest of the time we are usually at a slow sprint so she doesn't take him for a walk. The positive side is that this speeds up our walk. The negative side is that my once peaceful, star-gazing, contemplative walk has turned into a derring-do adventure, full of stops and starts, slow and fast and everything in between.

Last night, I noticed that Quentin had slowed down behind me and was turning to check on him when I see him sniffing bushes and trees and everything else. I tried to resist but finally just had to ask him what in the world he was doing. He said he was trying to figure out why Sassy was smelling everything all the time, and he figured it must smell pretty good if she was giving it that much attention.

After I got my laughing fit under control, I told him that dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans. That we could see much better than dogs, but that they could hear and smell better than humans. And I went into the dogs that sniff for a living and the dog whistles that hurt dog ears that we cannot hear. But then came the inevitable Why? So if your's ask the same question, I've done the research for you already!

- Just for Kids: Your Dog's Senses
- Dogs and Smell
- It's a Stinky Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It
- Animal Noses
- How Far Can Dogs Smell?
- How Dogs Use Their Senses

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