Now I’m a big fan of making a day of it and heading to exciting new places. Whether it be a day rounding up sheep at the Sunny Coast Hinterland, a doggy play-date at Woodgate Beach or the road-trip we did last year in which Bodhi and I visited all the Big-Things between here and Adelaide. But you know what? To be honest, it’s my daily sniff’n’smell meanders that give me the most joy.
Did you know that us dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in our nose compared to 6 million in the human’s nose? Also the part of our brain that processes all of that information takes up 40 times more space in our brain relative to the tiny little olfactory lobe of the human brain which might give you a bit of clue as to how important our sense of smell is to us. We experience the world around us through our nose similar to the way that people experience the world through what they see with their eyes.
We don’t just notice if something smells good or bad and all those extra receptors don’t just make the smells louder; we smell the whole story of where a person, insect or cat has been over time, we can smell how long ago Rover left his ‘message’ and what his mood and health were like when he passed by. We even have a phenomenal scent memory that means when we sniff all the sniffs around our neighbourhood, if we do eventually meet someone who left a comment on one of the posts we sniffed we will recognise them from their scent. We have such amazingly sensitive smell that we can get a sense of time, order, direction and perform a health assessment all from those air particles that we draw in through our cute little snoots.
What does that have to do with outdoor adventures? I hear you say – Well, it means that my most favourite thing in the whole world is to stop and smell the tree trunks, grass patches, sign posts, telegraph poles, kangaroo poos, twigs, leaves, invisible scents, and far-off-and-away wafts coming on the breeze from a mile away. Taking my time to investigate all of these things in depth is what gives my daily excursion meaning and boy oh boy does it give my brain a workout!
I’ll let you in on a little secret – the best way to wear out a border collie isn’t through physical exertion, it’s through using that big brain of theirs – and what makes up one eighth of that brain? – It’s the smelling part – their olfactory lobe!
I can confirm that the best way to wear-out a dog is by slowing down and letting them smell the roses.
Admittedly, my brother and I were a little confused initially when our human took us out for a “walk” and she just stood there and wandered aimlessly following wherever WE wanted to go. It took us a little while to realise we were allowed to slow down and follow our noses. It was a refreshing change from what we had learned about “walks” since we were wee pups. We now know the difference between a “Sniff’n’Smell” walk and a “Walk-Walk” and we are VERY lucky having so many open green spaces in our neighbourhood to explore over and over again the smells are different each time we visit.
If you every see us meandering about – we are not loitering – we are fully engaged, keeping up to date with all the latest news, posts and comments in our community.
Until next month we hope you’re finding your own human ways to fully engage in your environment.