Greyhound Diaries 4

(Read chapter 1 through 3 in the greyhound category)

Chapter 4

House arrest.

My father had trained hunting dogs when I grew up, so I thought I had a few tricks up my sleeve to deal with Poppy’s separation anxiety.

The adoption agency recommended to keep her in a kennel since that’s what she is used to. Since not leaving my house was not an option, I outfitted an oversized dog kennel with comfy cushions, water and food and coaxed her in several times a day for an hour or so, staying with her the entire time. No problem so far. It’s recommended to leave only for a few minutes at first, extending the time longer and longer over a couple of days. But as she was perfectly happy with me sitting by her kennel, she didn’t take kindly to me leaving and soon the battle of the wills began.

First it was just pacing and whimpering. Then the howling began. Ever heard a greyhound howl?  It’s ear piercing and heart breaking and in the long run will bring the police to your front door since your neighbors within the next 2 blocks might think you are running a torture program in your basement.

I spend extended time sitting out on my doorstep explaining to concerned passersby that there is no reason to call the authorities, hoping for that ‘aha’ moment when Poppyseed would realize the pretty good deal she got hooking up with me. But instead she started biting the kennel wire until her mouth bled. That was when I noticed there was something wrong with her front teeth. She must have done this before and had worn her teeth to a stubble gnawing on her cage. A light bulb went off – she hated her kennel! She probably had always hated her kennel. I decided to let her roam the house. My fears that she would destroy everything in it didn’t materialize, but the howling continued as soon as I was out of sight.

The nice thing about greyhound adoption outfits is that they really know the breed and are willing to work with you, so all kinds of suggestions started pouring in.

To be continued.


Greyhound Diaries 3

(Read chapter 1 and 2 in the Greyhound category)

Chapter 3
Fish out of Water.

So imagine you are a racing machine with a high dollar value, have never been cuddled or given a treat nor played with a toy (what’s a toy?), have been kept in a kennel with the constant company of other dogs, never been alone, never slept inside a house (with stairs (??) no less), and know exactly what happens the next minute, hour, day, week, month…..for the first 4 years of your life!

And now there is this human who offers none of that predictability (good or bad) and expects you to be…ahem…a dog, without giving you the definition of what that means!
Your life gone overnight! No other dog to model yourself on other than a senile 18 year old furry little thing that looks more like the bunny lure you used to chase than a distant cousin of yourself.

At least this human is giving you food although not the yummy meat from the track but – oh I don’t know – Kibbles? And walks are nice, but on a LEASH? And where is the track? And if this friendly enough human goes away too, what are you going to do then???

So there she is, this racing machine with a one track mind (pun intended), thrown in with me and my utterly unpredictable and unscheduled life. Yup…I would be anxious too. No wonder she’s holding on to me for dear life. Which in all practicality means I can not leave my house! Think about it…I can NOT leave my house….

To be continued.

Welcome to my Blog! Check out the different categories and enjoy many fun stories about dogs and see examples of my pet portraits.


” Molly” Portrait Painting by Gabriele Bungardt


“Sophie” Portrait Painting by Gabriele Bungardt


“Jiggs” Portrait Painting by Gabriele Bungardt


My dog Cocoa always makes for a good model
My dog Cocoa always makes for a good model

Greyhound Diaries 2

(Start by reading Chapter 1 by choosing Category ‘Greyhounds’)

Chapter 2
A dog is a dog.

Although I had heard the phrase ‘greyhounds are different’ I was not prepared for what should happen. How different could she be? Every dog is different, but still as a whole, a dog is a dog –right? OK, so greyhounds supposedly don’t know how to climb stairs, don’t know what to do with toys, have never seen a mirror, are unaccustomed to be a family pet, have never been alone in their lives. On the tracks they live with hundreds of other greyhounds side by side in kennels. They are accustomed to a routine that is the same every day: up at dawn, relief themselves, food, training, relief, food, training …. and in-between endless hours in tight kennels sleeping in the midst of the chaos of a bustling race track.

I thought I was well prepared, having internalized countless books on the breed and prep talks from the rescue. “Be patient, she’ll stick to you like glue for a couple of weeks; keep her in a kennel at first, that’s what she is used to, keep a routine, stay with her as much as possible. Watch her with the cat and your little dog”. Sounded like any other dog I ever picked up from the pound.
What I wasn’t prepared for was HER utter unpreparedness. She was like a fish out of water, literally. And so was I.

To be continued.


Greyhound Diaries 1

Chapter 1
I needed dog legs…

Donna was her racing name, as in Prima Donna. Back then I thought that was a weird name for a dog, but back then I didn’t know anything about greyhounds even though I had been around other dogs as long as I remember.

I don’t remember when I first noticed greyhounds but a few years ago three of them appeared in one of my paintings.

Quite A Day by Gabriele Bungardt

Or rather their legs did. I needed some tall legs for a painting in my –toys and dogs- series so I paid more attention to the anatomy of different breeds and stumbled onto the somewhat grotesque physique of the canine racer’s ‘turkey leg’. Muscle packed and over sized at one end to bare bones and stick like at the other. Now that was the perfect model.

Pretty soon I was painting the rest of their bodies, fascinated by how, even in the last details, these dogs are build for minimum wind resistance and maximum speed. The eyes were what hooked me. Huge and perfectly almond shaped, deep amber in color, there was an expressiveness in them not often seen in other dogs.

Of course one can’t get interested in greyhounds and not hear about the controversies around the race tracks.
Greyhounds, once discarded from the track as losers, face death. Nowadays rescues around the country find homes for many of them but a lot of them still get killed. There are about 10 race tracks left around the country, mostly in Texas and Florida.

Soon I was in touch with a local rescue. My little dog Kruemel had just turned 18 and her days were slow and surely numbered. I could handle another dog, even a big one. My research showed that greyhounds are calm dogs overall with only short bursts of energy, otherwise couch potatoes, affectionate and mellow with a cat like personality. Even though much of this turned out to be true I was not prepared for what it would take to get there.

It took a while to find the right dog because it needed to be matched for cat and small dog compatibility, since track dogs are trained on life bunnies and furry lures and greyhounds have a long history as hunting dogs.

And so one day, there she was, beautiful Donna. Coming from the Arizona race track she was the pup of successful racing champions with a history as far back as the 1800’s starting in England then Australia and eventually coming to the US. Discarded after only 6 test races because she didn’t win, she showed up at the rescue at 4 years old.
Snow white, with a wild sprinkle of black spots like poppy seeds (which gave her her off-track name) she was a dog painters dream. A black ‘eye patch’ and one larger spot on her forehead made her face unique and gave a glow to her amber eyes. A glow that was only there in color not in spirit as I found out soon enough.

-To be continued.


Sick Puppy?

Painting by

Common symptoms of illness. Check with your vet:

Decreased appetite
Weight loss
Changes in activity level or behavior
Confusion or disorientation
Changing sleeping patterns
Heightened thirst
Increased urination
Bad breath/red gums
Difficulty chewing
Excessive panting
New lumps or bumps
Poor vision or hearing
Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up
Shaking episodes
Fainting or signs of weakness

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik

You can find a comprehensive list of many dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on

Is This the Dog for Me? – Greyhound

'Friends in Need' Painting by Gabriele -

‘Friends in Need’ Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Check out the link on this site or your local rescue group for adopting a greyhound.

Greyhounds were amongst the most highest-favored of all dogs; Pharaohs and other Egyptian, Asian and African leaders had images of their dogs engraved into their tombs dating as far back as 4000BC. However, DNA analysis done in 2004 put it close to herding dogs, implying that although greyhounds have been around for millennia, the modern breed sprang from a wider genetic base more recently. Greyhounds were first used for hunting antelopes, wolves and deer and after the decline of large game for coursing smaller animals. Later track racing took over which again proved them to be the fastest dogs on earth with speeds around 40 miles. Only the cheetah is faster in the animal world. The ‘grey’ does not refer to color but, according to some sources, comes from Old English, meaning ‘fine’. Others say it is contracted form of ‘degree hound’ as it was once allowed to be possessed only by people with degrees. And others say that it derives from Greece.

The greyhound has a graceful, strong muscled, deep-chested, narrow-waisted, streamlined body. While running its long tail acts as a keel and the ears can fold toward the neck. Males can measure between up to 30”, weighing up to 70 lbs.
The greyhound has his eyes well positioned at the sides of his head giving him a far wider field of view than other dogs (270 degrees versus 180 degrees.) They are sight hounds and can spot movement up to half a mile away.

Greyhounds are calm and social indoors and are often referred to as couch potatoes. Although greyhounds are possibly the most athletic of all domestic dogs they do not necessarily need a lot of exercise. Two 20 minute walks a day will usually suffice.  A high fenced garden is advised as they are great jumpers. Greyhounds are fairly easy to train and can learn almost all commands. However, they must never be allowed off leash in public places, as it is in their natures to chase anything that moves and may choose to totally ignore you if they have their eyes set on a prey.

They are affectionate with their families although can be aloof with strangers. They normally get on well with other dogs in the household but cat owners should exercise caution although many are said to tolerate or even take to cats or small dogs. Because of their nature as sprinters, greyhounds have relatively low endurance and their conditioning need to be slowly build up if you’d like to take him jogging.

Greyhounds rarely bark. The joke goes that greyhounds are good watchdogs: they watch thieves carry your stuff away. They are relatively small eaters and will therefore not cost a lot to feed. Grooming is very easy, a good brush once a week is enough. They don’t have much body odor but like most short haired dogs do shed a little.

Greyhounds will live on average for 10 to 12 years. However, some ex-racers only live to 7 possibly due to the use of steroids during their racing careers.
Because of the greyhound’s explosive physical abilities, they are prone to leg injuries. They are also known to be sensitive to drugs, especially sedatives. Adopted greyhounds will need regular dental care as their teeth are generally badly neglected. Nails must be kept short and the ears kept clean. Skin irritations of the tail and esophageal malformations are possible breed ailments.

Related Designer Mixes:
Whippet: Cross of fox terrier and greyhound

Other greyhound breeds:
Spanish greyhound (Spain)
Rampur greyhound (India)
Saluki (Arabia)
Sloughi (Africa)

'Quite A Day' Painting by Gabriele -

‘Quite A Day’ Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Is This the Dog for Me? Weimaraner and Labmaraner

Weimeraner copy

Check out the link on this site or your local rescue group for adopting a rescued Weimaraner.


The Weimaraner was bread in Germany over one thousand years ago and is kin to the German Pointer. Some claim it is discernable in a 17th century painting by Van Dyck. It was used for big game hunting until big game declined. Treasured in the 19th century by the aristocrats of Weimar, Germany, it was then and now popular for hunting small game, and, because of its soft carrying mouth for water fowl. It has Bloodhound and Pointer blood and is still used as a working dog.


Weimeraners are strikingly beautiful dogs with a strong boned build, light amber eyes and a sleek short coat of silver to mouse gray. They can reach heights up to 28” and weigh between 60 and 85 lb. Not in need of extensive grooming, once a week brushing keeps the coat shiny.  Shedding in minimal.

Although more rare, the longhair with a smooth or slightly wavy coat up to 5″ long needs more grooming attention.


Weimaraners need thorough training and regular and extensive exercise. This is not a city dog. Sufficient space, a fenced yard, and lots of human attention will make them excellent companions as they are all-round dogs who love family life. They are friendly, intelligent and energetic but, with their vigilance, make excellent guard dogs if their home or family are threatened. Because of their dominance, they are not recommended for first time dog owners.

Overbreeding has let to temperament problems such as aggression and separation anxiety in some lines. Lack of exercise will make them aggressive and difficult and can lead to destructive behavior.


Weimaraners are affected by the usual canine problems but with no great frequency. They are, however, prone to two more unusual problems: spinal dysraphism which is a severe though non-lethal condition, affecting the gait and giving an unusual stance which resembles a crouched position. Ear infections are easily acquired due to the drop-eared conformation.

Related Designer Mixes:

Recent designer dog mixes have produced the Labmaraner, a cross of a Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner. This breed is an outdoorsy, fast, agile breed not meant for urbanites. They need good management which can be trying because of an underlying stubbornness. Consistent training and tough regulations are needed to keep the peace in your house.
Labmaraner can weigh from 50 to 100 lb and their coat color ranges from dark gold to pale cream, black, and chocolate.

LabmaranerLabmaraner (photo by Anna Kuperberg)

Greyhound Reunion Point Richmond

Last Sunday was the Greyhound Friends for Life 2009 Reunion. Greyhound Friends for Life is a local rescue group who finds new loving homes for rejected racing dogs or any greyhound in need. It was quite a sight. These graceful dogs calmly hanging out with each other. I’m hooked. For more info on this dedicated group go to




‘Tough Love’ (Toys with their Dogs series) Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Dog Training –Timing and Consistency-

'Good Dog'

‘Good Dog’

Timing is everything! Dogs will only recognize the meaning of a reward or a correction if the time between them is very short. Most behaviorists say that one must deliver feedback within a second of the behavior. This is not only because dogs have a short attention span and memory. If you like him to sit but don’t give feedback the second he puts his bottom down, he might be already back up. In that case it’s better to not reward at all then to reward the wrong behavior. Move the treat out of sight and say “UH OH!” Then ask him to sit again and reward immediately. Rewarding or correcting your dog immediately also teaches him to act fast and not hesitate when a command is given.

Consistency is another must. Mixed messages confuse dogs and can make them anxious and non responsive.
Can he jump up at you or not? If you allow him to greet you by jumping up at you, but yell at him if he does the same comming back from a muddy run, what message are you giving him?
This goes for anyone handling your dog which is sometimes hard to enforce. Especially people who don’t have dogs, need to be educated unless you want to spend hours un-training the bad behavior. In my experience this is especially difficult around food. Because dogs can be incredible cute and persistent around the good smells of home cooking, it is difficult to keep people from feeding him with table scraps. Unless you don’t mind your dog getting obnoxious as soon as you sit down for your dinner, you need to be as firm with your friends as with your dog. A good trick is telling them your dog is allergic to people food.

Using consistent commands is also important. Dogs can, with training, associate the word ‘come’ with coming to you. But it confuses them when you have taught them the word ‘come’ but then ask them to ‘come here’ or ‘here’ . What in the world does ‘here’ mean, he might think.
One of the biggest mistakes is to punish your dog when he finally comes back to you after you told him to do so for the last ten minutes. Grind your teeth and reward him for coming back at all. If you yell at him you will have taught him that it was a mistake to come back and he will stay away longer next time. (By the way, a good trick to get your dog to come to you, if he is not yet properly trained, is running away from him. If you run after him he’ll think it just a fun game, if you run in the opposite direction he’ll want to follow you. Have your treat ready when he does.)

Most dogs react more to the tone of voice than what is said. Try saying ‘Good Boy’ in an angry voice or ‘Bad Dog’ in a high pitched happy voice and you know what I mean.

Old Dogs

Jake of Graton, CA

Jake of Graton, CA

“Olds dogs can be cloudy-eyed and grouchy, gray of muzzle, graceless of gait, eccentric of habit, hard of hearing, wheezy, lazy, and lumpy. But anyone who has ever loved an old dog, these things are of little consequence. Old dogs are sweetly vulnerable. They show exorbitant gratitude and limitless trust. They are funny in new and unexpected ways. But above all, they seem at peace.”  -Gene Weingarten

Dog Training –Introducing a clicker-

'What are you waiting for' Watercolor by

‘What are you waiting for’ Watercolor by Gabriele Bungardt

Most dog trainers recommend the use of a clicker to train a dog. This is a simple device that produces a clicking sound if pressed. The idea is that your dog will quickly understand that each time he hears a click, he will get rewarded. This way you can mark the exact behavior you want your dog to repeat with a click, which is easy for your dog to understand. The click provides a bridge between the reward and your dog’s behavior. A click promises a reward even from a distance or with short delay and encourages the dog to think and figure out what you want, so he will actively participate and enjoy his lesson.

In the beginning a clicking sound will mean nothing to your dog, although he may look up to see what is making the noise. You need to teach him that the click is positive, rewarding, and worth responding to.

Start by showing your dog that you have treats, so you have his attention. Hold the clicker in one hand and the treat in the other. Click and treat. Keep repeating this, aiming to click when your dog is looking at you. You can try throwing a treat on the floor, clicking once just before your dog eats it. Keep repeating.
If your dog already knows a trick, you can test if he understands that click equals reward.
If he can sit on command for example, say sit, click as he does so and reward once he is sitting. Move away; repeat the command, click, reward, and so on.

Once your dog understands that the click always means a reward, you have a vast array of possibilities at your finger tips. Simply wait until a natural behavior happens, like a leg stretch or a head shake, click, then give him a treat. Your dog will soon try to recreate the action that resulted in the reward. For example, if he does not know how to sit on command, be ready to click when he sits down naturally. Repeat the next time and so on. Your dog will soon make the connection. Once he does, add a voice command.

A few tricks to know:

– Only click once at one time even if you give lots of treats.

– Add a voice command only after he understands the trick.

– Always reward your dog after a click but have him guessing how many treats he gets and when. Sometimes give him a handful for doing particularly well and occasionally ask for two or tree repetitions of a move before rewarding.

– Don’t always click at the end of a behavior, as this will teach your dog to always stop at this point. For example, on circle moves, sometimes click after half a revolution, sometimes after one and a half circles.

Source: Dog Tricks by Mary Ray and Justine Harding

Hot Dogs

Heatstroke in dogs:
Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans – they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog’s temperature reaches 106°, damage to the body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible.
All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, Bullmastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranien are more susceptible.

• Vigorous panting
• Dark red gums
• Tacky or dry mucus membranes
• Lying down and unwilling to get up
• Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
• Thick saliva
• Dizziness or disorientation

What to do:
Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body – especially the foot pads and around the head. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth. He could choke on it.
Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye.

• NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven – temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.
• Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas.
• Keep fresh cool water available at all times.

painting by

painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Hot weather doggy treat

Drop some of your dogs favorite kibble into each well of an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Watch your dog slurping it up to get to the treat. This is great summer fun and also good for teething puppies

LastDrop_ipaintyourpet                      ‘Last drop’ painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Hear, Hear!

'Zipper' of Sausalito

‘Zipper’ of Sausalito

Nearly all dogs (and cats for that matter) love having their ears rubbed. Ears are one of a handful of nerve centers on a dog’s body that are extra sensitive to touch. It’s pretty hard to rub dogs’ ears in ways they dislike. To launch them straight to cloud nine, however, you need to hit as many of the nerves as you can. Starting at the base of the ear, hold the flap between your thumb and forefinger, Dr. Makowski suggests. Very gently pull the ear straight out from your dogs head, letting your fingers slide as you go. If you do that about four times, moving your fingers each time so they slide over a different section of the ear, you’ll hit just about every hot spot, and your dog will be very, very happy.

Source: The Secret lives of Dogs

Training Humans from the Dog’s Perspective

Source: Training People by Tess of Helena

In addition to increasing the variety of your cuisine, you find that when you share food with your human, he is all the more eager to meet your other needs.
People greatly appreciate praise, and the excellent preparation of food is certainly worth a reward. If you are pleased with your person’s cooking, feel free to mimic that peculiar “mmmmm..” sound humans make when they enjoy the taste of food. With our higher-pitched vocal cords, the sound you make will be perceived by human ear as an endearing ‘whine.’
If you are especially fond of a particular dish, you can give your person exceptional praise through Physical Cues: sitting up on hind legs, rolling over, or other enthusiastic gestures. Humans deeply appreciate such generous displays of approval.

Tess goes on to describe physical cue combination dog can use with humans who react negatively to dogs taking food directly from their table:
The instinct to protect one’s food is strong – even in humans – and if they see you eating from their plates they may protest. An immediate Ear Drop combined with Drooping Tail lets them know how seriously they have disappointed you. Faced with that rebuke, almost all humans will back off, and many will even offer additional potions.

"Cookie?" Painting by

“Cookie?” Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Common Genetic Dog Diseases

Many breeds:
Progressive Retinal Athrophy; progressive degeneration of the retina in both eyes that leads to blindness.

Hypothyroidism; which causes a reduced metabolic rate. Autoimmune destruction of the thyroid.

Hip Dysplasia; painful developmental malformation or subluxation of the hip joints that leads to painful and crippling arthritis. Often seen in German Shepherds and very common in many large breed dogs.

Cairn terriers, West Highland white terriers, Shar peis, Scottish terriers, Lhasa apsos, Wire-hared Fox terriers, Dalmatians, Irish setters, Boston terriers, Pugs, Golden retrievers, Boxers, English setters, Labrador retrievers, and Miniature Schnauzer:
Atropic Dermatitis; common skin disease linked to allergies.

Smooth Fox Terrier, Havanese, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, American Cocker Spaniel, Standard Poodle, and Miniature Schnauzer: Cataract;
Cataract formation is one of the most common eye diseases in dogs, which, according to the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, affects about 97 breeds in which inheritance is suspected.

Doberman Pinscher, French Bulldog, Great Danes, Shih Tzu, Poodle (all sizes), German short haired and wire haired pointers, Scottish terriers, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rottweilers, and Shetland sheepdog:
Von Willebrands Disease; bleeding disorder caused by defective blood platelet function. Some 59 other breeds can be affected by this disease.

Great Danes and Dobermans:
Wobbler Syndrome; weakness starts in the hind legs and progresses to paralysis.

Ruptured Disk; a problem that often occurs in dogs with short legs.

Dalmatians, English setters, bull terriers, and Australian cattle dogs:

Cocker spaniels, beagles, and bloodhounds:
Cherry Eye; prolapsed tear gland, giving the dog a red-eyed appearance and making the eyes susceptible to infection.

Flat-coated retrievers:
Genetic Predisposition to Cancers; about 80 % of death of this breed are caused by cancer. It is thought to be the result of a defect on the p53 gene, which suppresses tumors.

Golden retrievers and Newfoundlands:
Aortic Stenosis; narrowed aorta causes changes in the electrical rhythm of the heart, leading to sudden death.

Bloodhounds, Great Danes, Atika, Weimaraner, Standard Poodle, Setters:
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus; large deep-chested breeds are more likely to experience “bloat.” The dog’s stomach fills up with gas and fluid and then twists upon its long axis, shutting off blood supply to vital organs. It is a medical emergency that kills rapidly if not treated.

Pugs: Pug Dog Encephalitis is one of the inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) which cause seizures in dogs affecting Pug dogs of either sex. The disease used to be considered unique to the Pug breed. However, similar disease has been reported recently in Maltese, Pekingese and Yorkshire Terrier breeds.

Other medical alerts:

Drug toxicity from human medications administered by owners is one of the most common types of canine poisoning. Do not give your dog ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. They can cause kidney damage or gastric ulcers in dogs. (Also see my blog on food that can poison dogs in -Garlic for dogs- from 4/8/09)

All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English bulldog, Pekingese, Boston terrier, bull mastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranian are more susceptible. Their palates can get sucked into the tracheal opening when they pant heavily, obstructing breathing. These breeds have also trouble swimming because of their breathing difficulties.

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik and other sources.
I found a comprehensive list of dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on

painting by

painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Dog senses: Smell

In the wild, the dog’s highly developed sense of smell gives the species a great advantage when tracking down prey and identifying fellow pack members. Where we would size up a new situation with our eyes, dogs explore new environment by sniffing them. When they meet other dogs, they sniff them in what -to our eyes- are the most embarrassing places, places where odor is most concentrated.
Scent passes on an incredible amount of information to a dog. Scent –marking with urine or by leaving deposits from the sweat glands between the toes is the way dogs communicate and establish their territory. Sacs inside the dog’s rectum also produce a scent that coats feces. When you’re out walking in the park with your dog, he’s using his nose to pick up who’s been there before him-perhaps a dominant dog, a female in heat, an old dog, a sick dog, or a dog he’s already met. Dogs can smell females in heat who are miles away.
Source: It’s me or the dog by Victoria Stilwell