Monday, March 12, 2012

Dogs Working Scent/Open Mouth & Licking

There was a small discussion a while back on one of the tracking lists about dogs that had their mouth open while tracking and questions from some people about why...Years ago, John Barnard (at a seminar) mentioned some dogs will lick the article or the track as they work. I had never seen this, but began to watch, out of curiousity, when I was working with Trust...still at TDX training at that time. Sure enough, I did see her lick articles at times. I don't think you would see this unless you were working close to the dog...or taking pictures.
Now, with pictures or videos that we often take of our dogs, you can sometimes 'pick up things' you would normally miss. Yesterday, I got these two pictures (Tascha was taking them) with Blast that show this very well. In the above picture, Blast has just licked the track (noticing Tascha as he raised his head).This photo was just after finding his first article and moving on. He often has his mouth open, and they definitely "suck in" scent this way into the roof of the mouth and into the olfactory system. The dog is not hot and panting, but sucking in scent. Interesting, isn't it?! And not all dogs do this. I've only seen Trust and now Blast, but it's hard to notice at the end of the line...