|The last one: http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/30/4/291?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=footsteps&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT
particularly interesting for us since it contains a question, but not an
answer, about how dogs determine the direction of air scent. As you may
remember Cj had experimented with this issue and we discussed it. My suggestion
was based on the evaporation of the moist on the dogs nose depending of the
direction of the air flow over the nose. The air flow would disturb the
micro-climate on the nose and the direction of the flow would allow different
parts of the nose to cool more due to an increased evaporation that took place
when the steam pressure was lowered where the air flow was strongest, that is in
the direction of the wind and hence the scent source.
Cj: s experiment by covering the dogs nose
with petroleum jelly and hence hampering the dog to find the direction of the
scent source reinforces my theory but no-one seems to have confirmed, or even
tried to confirm this by true empirical experiments. However Cj also
mentioned that there are around 600 - 800 nerves connected to the muzzle of a
dog, while we humans can count them in tens or something like that.
Our recent setter puppy Larka did not,
interestingly, use her nose for tracking or trailing until recently. It must
have been around a month ago that she started seriously to find us in the
terrain by combining ground and wind scent and she will be 6 months old in a few
I think that this has to do with nerve stability.
The dogs first priority to communicate with the environment are the yes, the
second is the ears and the nose comes in the third place. Larka is mentally a
very "small" dog and it took some maturing for her to be able to jump
into the third way of communicating with the clues to find us, after she had
lost us in forest (we use to hide now and then to train the puppy to keep
the track of us and not vice versa) and got nervous.
Our late, and mentally very strong, Foxy started to
find us by tracking already at an age of 8 - 10 weeks.
I made some months ago, as soon as the snow had
melted away, some blood tracks for Larka but stopped training her since I saw
that she was not using her nose in a ..."matured" way. I plan to continue the
training now, perhaps already this week.
Otherwise Larka is a very different puppy compared
to the unfortunate Sunnie. Or actually is more of a normal English setter than
Sunnie was. Sunnie was the exception.....