What a bird dog’s nose really knows…

Pointing a Spring Woodcock
Pointing a Spring Woodcock

If you spent much time with hunting dogs, you’ve probably wondered about their noses. A recent piece called  BIRD DOGS, SCENT AND FINDING BIRDS from the Pheasants Forever blog gave some insights into scent and into how dogs process it. It’s short, but talks about:

  • The Scent Cloud
  • Temperature & Moisture
  • Hot Spots
  • Dog’s Health
  • Bird Identity
  • Hunting Dead Birds
  • Up Wind, Down Wind, Cross Wind
“I spent a number of days this spring running my German shorthaired pointer, Trammell, through woods I know hold timberdoodle on their migration north. It was interesting to watch Trammell navigate the scent determining when to point and when to press. It got me thinking about the incredible ability of a dog’s nose, so I reached out to Bob West of Purina Dog Foods and a professional trainer with 50 years of experience to teach me more about bird dogs and scent…”

Making sense of scent…

Bird scent – I can’t see and I can’t smell it. But when it comes to upland hunting with girl, it’s important that I understand how works. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to learn more about how scent works and how weather affects it. This recent post from Steady with Style does a good job of summing things up.

“Bird dogs use the wind to hunt and find birds. Hunters use the wind to determine the best approach to birdy objectives, and dog trainers like us use it to help our dogs navigate a variety of bird set-ups. Basically, there are four wind situations: upwind, downwind, crosswind, and no wind…”

Read the entire post on Martha Greenlee’s excellent “Steady with Style” blog.

Here’s a short video of a GSP working the scent on a running pheasant:

Here’s a cool look at a search-and-rescue dogs working a “scent cone” to locate its handler:

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