Monday, October 6, 2008

The Nose Knows....

Here's a picture of a Stone Tavern Matrix pup called Kate. She's a great little Setter with an exemplary nose. Here, she's pointing old scent from a spring trap that was picked up close to an hour previous.
So, this leads us to a question... Do all pups have the same scenting powers, or do some just process the information taken in by the nostrils better?
From my experience, I'd say it's decidedly both! There are dogs with exceptional noses! Of this, there is no doubt in my mind.
But, I also believe that some dogs are more disciplined, and just use their scenting powers more efficiently. These dogs possess a greater desire to encounter game. More desire to be a part of the team and work with their handler. More of the predatory instinct...
So, it follows then that some dogs have inferior noses??
Yes, I think so, and all the other attributes we like to see in a quality gundog also.

I believe that scent is like vision.. As Bud Decot of shooting fame once said.."We look with our eyes, but we see with our mind."
I've come to believe that dogs and humans are more alike than not, and the senses and the brain are irrevocably tied together..

I'd love to hear other thoughts on this issue..


  1. I believe that some dogs can tell more from one scent molecule than others can from a nosefull. Id imagine the way the brain processes the amount of information they get is as important as how sensitive the nose sensors are to scents. Sometimes dogs with lesser noses out perform the dogs with huge noses.

  2. Bill: thanks for coming by the Regal Vizsla and the nice comments about Momo. He's really starting to look like an awesome gundog. I'm always proud of what he does, in spite his owner.

    I'd add a third element to this conversation: experience. Maybe this is what you mean by how the brain processes information -- but I would say, for example, that our younger dog, Jozsi, may have a better nose than our older dog, Momo, but doesn't know how to process the information as effectively. As a result, he almost always makes game, but he hasn't learned as many of the subtleties of range (to avoid bumping birds). I think running him on wild woodcock, and especially grouse, will do him wonders.


  3. Thanks for the insightful comments, gentlemen..
    Always good to hear other's thoughts on such subjects..

  4. If books are your thing, look for Gibson's "The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception." Kinda long and scientific - it's still a fascinating read. Gibson (unlike most others since Descartes) believes that perception doesn't occur until information is processed in our minds. It's an active process of seeking / processing rather than a passive one of letting information seep in.