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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious as I've seen this touched on briefly in some other threads here. Am I correct on this breakdown:

Sight - dogs are color blind, but some breeds (like sighthounds) can see better than the average human.
Hearing - Dogs can hear frequencies above what humans can hear and are more sensitive to sound than humans are.
Smell - Obviously, any dog can smell much better than we can. Some dogs are better sniffers than others.
Touch - Same as humans pretty much.
Taste - Again, I think it's the same as humans, but given that touch and taste are related it might be heightened compared to us?

Is that a fair assessment or am I off somewhere? I'm sure I am and someone here will correct me.
 

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Wow... very interesting article! Thanks for posting. I had always thought they were colorblind too.

Also, very interesting topic:)
 

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A dog's ability to sort through different smells, and identify a particular odor, is unfathomable to humans. They can identify chemical odors at ridiculously low levels, but they can also pick them out of competing scents.

Dogs of different breeds have different visual abilities (with sight hounds probably at the top of the heap) but dog vision seems to be geared more towards detecting motion. I had a dog who would follow the flight of a single fruit fly from the other side of the house (about 40 ft.). He hated flies! Dogs seem to detect motionless shapes better than prey animals, but not as well as humans--though they can be trained to improve in this area. They see better in low light than humans do, as well.

Canine hearing is also way better than we humans are stuck with. My dog can hear my wife's car coming when it is over a mile away. He starts doing the whine-and-wiggle "Mommy Dance", and I know she's turning onto our road. The car she drives is a very popular model in our area, so it's not like it has a unique sound, and he can hear it from inside the house while the TV and the dishwasher are running. She doesn't keep precise hours, so that's not a factor.

Dogs (and other animals) seem to be able to detect slight changes in the barometer.

Article

Measurements of the acuity of the dog's nose suggest that the dog is many times more sensitive than man to the presence of minute quantities of odor molecules wafting in the air, but the data are all over the map. This is probably in part because the threshold for detecting different chemicals no doubt varies dramatically according to the particular chemical involved. Some comparative studies have found that dogs can detect certain organic chemicals at concentrations a hundred times less than people are able to; for other compounds the dog's edge may be a factor of a million or more. In police and security work, dogs can detect the odor from natural gas leaks, concealed narcotics, explosives, and currency, all at levels well below the threshold at which humans are aware of the odor.

In controlled studies dogs could detect human scent on a glass slide that had been lightly fingerprinted and then left outdoors for as much as two weeks, or indoors for as much as a month; they could pick which of six identical steel tubes had been held in the hands of a person for no more than five seconds; they could distinguish between T-shirts worn by two identical twins who ate different foods, or by two nonidentical twins who lived in exactly the same environment and ate exactly the same foods.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A dog's ability to sort through different smells, and identify a particular odor, is unfathomable to humans. They can identify chemical odors at ridiculously low levels, but they can also pick them out of competing scents.

Dogs of different breeds have different visual abilities (with sight hounds probably at the top of the heap) but dog vision seems to be geared more towards detecting motion. I had a dog who would follow the flight of a single fruit fly from the other side of the house (about 40 ft.). He hated flies! Dogs seem to detect motionless shapes better than prey animals, but not as well as humans--though they can be trained to improve in this area. They see better in low light than humans do, as well.

Canine hearing is also way better than we humans are stuck with. My dog can hear my wife's car coming when it is over a mile away. He starts doing the whine-and-wiggle "Mommy Dance", and I know she's turning onto our road. The car she drives is a very popular model in our area, so it's not like it has a unique sound, and he can hear it from inside the house while the TV and the dishwasher are running. She doesn't keep precise hours, so that's not a factor.

Dogs (and other animals) seem to be able to detect slight changes in the barometer.
A dogs sense of smell has always amazed me. I wonder if there are any other animals that are better at it than the common bloodhound. I know sharks can pick up blood, but I don't know that they can distinguish and hone in on other scents the way a dog can.

I'm kind of curious about the hearing thing. Popular model or not, no car really sounds exactly the same. I wonder if he's hearing some sound it's making that's out of the range of our hearing. Like a high pitched whine or a rattle or something that stands out over background noise. Hard to say.

I have arthritis in my left wrist. I can detect changes in the barometer. :)
 

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I've read that a dog could hear a sound from like 4 miles away if it's the right frequency.

I've often wondered about smell. I know they are way better at it, but...

...for example, there's bacon cooking. He can smell the bacon, but does it smell the same way to him as it does to me, just 1000x stronger? Or does it smell like something completely different? Like with colors - he sees them, but differently - is smell the same way?
 

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I would highly recommend the book How Dogs Think by Stanley Coren if you are interested in a more in-depth look at the way dogs perceive the world, especially regarding the biological differences in their senses compared to humans :)
 

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A dogs sense of smell has always amazed me. I wonder if there are any other animals that are better at it than the common bloodhound. I know sharks can pick up blood, but I don't know that they can distinguish and hone in on other scents the way a dog can.
A big part of the equation would seem to be the way a dog's brain functions. Some blind people appear to have more acute senses of smell and hearing, but it is more likely a matter of focus. Without visual stimuli for the brain to filter out, the other senses can be trained to discern more information.

I suspect the human brain would become overwhelmed if one were suddenly granted a dog's acute sense of smell and hearing. Some autistic and/or brain-injured people seem unable to filter out the "noise" of unneeded visual, aural, and olfactory information.

I'm kind of curious about the hearing thing. Popular model or not, no car really sounds exactly the same. I wonder if he's hearing some sound it's making that's out of the range of our hearing. Like a high pitched whine or a rattle or something that stands out over background noise. Hard to say.
It's possible that he hears the blaring of my wife's favorite Stevie Ray Vaughn CD before he can hear the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've read that a dog could hear a sound from like 4 miles away if it's the right frequency.

I've often wondered about smell. I know they are way better at it, but...

...for example, there's bacon cooking. He can smell the bacon, but does it smell the same way to him as it does to me, just 1000x stronger? Or does it smell like something completely different? Like with colors - he sees them, but differently - is smell the same way?
I've wondered this as well. I am somewhat of a sloppy cook and often drop food on the floor. I pick it up of course, but I've noticed that my larger and more dominant dog likes to hang out in that area while my smaller dog also likes to lie around there when the bigger dog isn't around. I often wonder if they can tell what I cooked last week or even last month by the scent left on the ground. I pick up the food, wipe up any juices left behind and if I can't smell it or see it I'm fine. I'm sure they see things completely differently though.
 

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I recommended "How Dogs Think" by Stanley Coren to you in the other thread, about the Doberman guard dog. Just want to reiterate that recommendation, and I see Shaina has backed me up on this one... it really answers all your questions in superb detail, and it's very easy reading, nothing too technical. The answers themselves are quite fascinating.
 

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I've wondered this as well. I am somewhat of a sloppy cook and often drop food on the floor. I pick it up of course, but I've noticed that my larger and more dominant dog likes to hang out in that area while my smaller dog also likes to lie around there when the bigger dog isn't around. I often wonder if they can tell what I cooked last week or even last month by the scent left on the ground. I pick up the food, wipe up any juices left behind and if I can't smell it or see it I'm fine. I'm sure they see things completely differently though.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure they can still smell it - our wiping up probably can't pick up all the leftover chemical particles that make up scent. I often see Wally sniffing around where food was dropped, even after wiping it up. He still can find where it was.

Also, sometimes I hide treats/dinner under his covers and he still sniffs around sometimes - I imagine it's because the scent is still lingering and it triggers him to try to find it again.
 

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Here's a guick breakdown of some of the senses:
Eyesight is about 20/70...not real sharp/clear vision but, they can detect movement 10x faster than humans and can see some colors like yellow and purple. They can also see 2-3x better in low light than us....not as good as a cat who can see 5-6x better.
Hearing is about 3x better than humans (3x the distance) and they can also hear sounds well above the range of humans.
Touch is a liitle harder to pinpoint....dogs have receptors in their skin that allow them to 'feel/sense' barometric and seismic changes (approaching storms/earthquakes) at great distances. How that relates to actual feel/touch is not known.
Smell varies greatly.....the Bloodhound has millions more receptors than a Sheltie but, all dogs have smell receptors in the nose, upper palate and tongue. Their noses are anatomically designed to capture and distill scents more clearly than a humans...(scents go in the nostrils but, are exhaled through the nose side vents).
 
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