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NancyJ 03-13-2014 03:26 PM

I would not believe this if I had not seen it
Tracking seemed to be the closest topic for this but it is not about formal tracking but following a ground track.

I was playing fetch with Beau this am.

Our backyard is on a hill going down from the house to a creek and I normally throw to the west side of the yard but due to a secondary fence he has to run to the east side to get through a gate.

Anyway he visually marked the throw as normal but then when he was running away from me (to the east) the ball rolled down the hill a pretty good distance from where it landed. It was nowhere near where it normally lands.

He was full bore ahead going to the visual location when he crossed the track, came to a screeching halt, put his head down, and trailed the ball down the hill. (normally the ball bounces and he winds up casting for it and air scents to locate it; the visual mark is not so good because he has to run east to run west so he always has to hunt for it when he gets there).

I just thought the definitive head snap and following the trail of something as light as a ball on its first throw of the day was fascinating (no fresh slobber plus it was sitting in the chuck-it all night so not much of my odor either).

wyoung2153 03-13-2014 03:36 PM

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Titan has done that some times at night when he loses the ball and I tell him to "find it" But I am not sure he's done it dry! That's so awesome! I bet that was really cool to see :)

NancyJ 03-13-2014 03:43 PM

Beau always has to hunt for his ball with his nose the way I throw it. I have just never seen him track it before and with such precision.

Because he is not used to tracking he systematically scans the area. Then does a head pop when he gets it and pounces on it like a cat.

wyoung2153 03-13-2014 03:51 PM

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Wow.. now that I think about it.. Titan usually just finds it with his nose, I don't think he's ever found it like that! I wish you caught it on video!

blackshep 03-18-2014 02:15 PM


I'm always amazed at their noses. If anyone comes down the driveway who isn't a regular at the house, when I'm out walking my dog, she'll start following the path of the strange car tread down the drive.

My dog at my scenting class tries to cheat by making a beeline for my trainer and tracking his path back to where he's hidden the scent. He has to run all over touching things to mix her up and he even has me block her sightline so she doesn't cheat that way either. lol Sassy girl.

They really are amazing creatures :)

Slamdunc 03-18-2014 03:28 PM

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Dogs and their olfactory senses are really amazing. I have seen my dog "head snap" and find his kong in the middle of the night by following where the kong bounced right up to the kong. Dogs have a gland called the "vomeronasal organ" or Jacobson's gland. This gland stores scent in the brain. This is used when dogs are looking for a female in heat for example. The gland if I remember correctly is located in the roof of the mouth, near the base of the nasal cavity. If you have ever seen a dog licking it's lips and tongue and seem to be tasting the air, that is the use of gland. Scent is taken in through the mouth and delivered directly to the olfactory part of the brain, where it is "stored." If your dog had that toy in his mouth once, the odor of that toy is registered in his brain forever.

This gland helps male dogs locate potential mates. We use it for scent discrimination tracking. In the early stages of training, the track layer agitates the dog with a Tshirt worn the day before and gives the dog a bite on the shirt and then runs away. The track layers scent is embedded in the dog's brain thru the vomeronasal organ, the dog is in drive and will follow that particular person, ignoring others.

It is really amazing what dogs can do, I absolutely agree.


NancyJ 03-18-2014 03:55 PM

The vomeronasal is why we let our dogs taste the water when they are searching for live or cadaver despite the risk of is a different action than is all fascinating..He has always relied on nose to find the toy. I just thought tracking where the ball rolled was fascinating...

Slamdunc 03-18-2014 04:37 PM

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I agree that tracking the scent of the ball is fascinating. I watch my dog do this all the time as I work a lot of nights and run him during my shift. I have seen him head snap and check each spot his kong or the ball on the rope has bounced and followed it to source. Most of the things my dog does fascinate me. I never have a dull day with him.

Last week my dog tracked a burglary suspect from the crime scene, started on a muddy footprint. It was during a Nor'easter, winds were 30+ mph, 2+ inches of rain that day, hard surface, down streets, apartment complexes, past people, dogs and cars to the suspect's building. We got a search warrant based on the investigation and his track, ended up recovering stolen property and a confession. To top it off, the track was 8 1/2 hours old in heavily contaminated, severe weather, over a 1/2 mile and the dog was right on.

BTW, I figured you knew what the vomeronasal organ was. I figure some other folks might not. ;)

NancyJ 03-18-2014 05:09 PM

I will say this though when we trying to text in work we do not have the dogs bite or mouth the various sources

NancyJ 03-18-2014 05:10 PM

When we are im printing oder that is..... Sorry I am talking to my phone and relying on voice recognition my internet provider is down so I'm on my 4G stuff

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