Hide and Seek – Dogs Sense of Smell
Lesson 10 Chapter 3
by Kim Bloomer, VND, ND
…You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. ~Matthew 13: 14-15, NIV
(PS God CAN say the word HEAL and mean it, WOOF! And HE doesn't need FDA approval!)
My Neo Mastiff, Shadrach, and I have played a version of the game “Hide and Seek” since he was a young dog. Now that he’s nearing eleven years old he seems not only sharper at finding me but it is obvious he enjoys the game as well.
I will hide in a closet, on the side of a dresser, on the floor by the bed, etc. and then starting barking! Not really barking but shouting, “WOOF, WOOF!” Normally when we are out walking Shadrach will keep his nose to the ground so much he comes home with it covered in dirt. I know he’s smelling some great smells that tell him all about what is going on in the neighborhood but when we play Hide & Seek, he always just uses his ears and eyes but never his nose…well I’m sure he uses his nose but appears to rely more on his sight and sound than smell.
Dogs have a special ability to be able to smell things far better than we do – they have a bony structure called the submethmoidal shelf that allows them the ability to actually taste what they smell. And their hearing is also much better than ours.
However the challenge with Shadrach being able to pinpoint where my “WOOF, WOOFs” are coming from COULD be because of how their range of seeing works – they see in a range of 6 degrees whereas we see in a range of 1.5 degrees – and while their range is greater than ours, our heads orient instantly to that sound. Dogs hearing only has to localize to enable them to spot a threat and since I’m not a threat and Shadrach knows this is a game, it might be what actually hinders him in this game.
I don’t know why he doesn’t use his nose because he’d find me much easier if he would – not because I need a shower or anything like that – but because dogs’ sense of smell is so much greater than ours. For some reason he appears to rely primarily on his eyes and ears which means he has a much harder time finding me UNTIL he learns OR remembers my hiding places. Some of my favorite hiding spots I can no longer use because he goes right to those now whenever I initiate the game.
The way our house is built allows me to go around and through rooms doing the “WOOF, WOOF” sounds which makes it all even more challenging for Shadrach because I always stay out of his line of sight when doing this. The other day I was behind him and he never caught on! It sort of reminds me how wild animals would stalk their prey. Shadrach KNEW I was nearby but was apparently not using all of his dog capabilities to find out WHERE I was.
This has all made me wonder if so many of us on earth seek for God in the same manner never noticing He’s right there all the time but we’re not finding him because we aren’t using sense…no not senses but sense (in a dog's case that would be SCENTS)! Uncommon sense. He’s not hard to find if you have ears to hear and eyes to see…and you don’t need an extraordinary sense of smell like dogs have either!
…Though seeing they do not see; though hearing they do not hear or understand. ~Matthew 13:13, NIV
Just a little telltale SCENTS-ability to help you understand our canine noses a little better. So now onto the BIG class next. Have your notepads and pens ready - or whatever you use to take notes as you will want to know this for your dogs, WOOF!