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A dog's sense of smell is a fascinating thing. It's difficult for a human to comprehend perceiving scent the way a dog does. For example, their sense of smell is so strong that they can determine a scent's age in incredibly small increments of time... allowing them to determine the direction of travel of whatever left the scent... hence how they can pick up a trail and know which direction to follow it. It's been theorized that they can perceive scent in a way that is similar to how we perceive sight, or how a bat perceives sound - so, for example, a blind dog could learn to avoid bumping into a wall because he would smell that he is getting closer to it.

Then there's the other aspect of it: the fact that there are layers upon layers of scent that we simply cannot perceive. Poo to us just smells nasty, but as anyone with a dog knows, its smell is utterly fascinating to canines. We smell poo, whereas they smell a story that distinguishes identification of the poo-er, what they ate that afternoon, whether or not they may be suffering internal injuries, etc.

It'd be pretty interesting to experience a dog's scent perception capabilities.
 

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What are dogs actually smelling when they pick up a scent? The smell of the friction between your foot and the ground? Sweat drops which fall from the body to the ground? I mean, any body odor would seem to dissipate into the atmosphere quickly, but I suppose that in fact is what is being picked up on. I just wonder how it makes it to the ground.
I'm no expert, so take what I say with a big grain of salt, but I'm pretty sure the dog can smell and distinguish between all of the following: the rubber soles of the shoes, the smell of the socks, the smell of the laundry detergent, and the perpetrator's body scent - just from his feet touching the ground. The dog can also tell how long ago the scent was made, though I'm pretty sure they perceive time much differently than we do.
 
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