Note posted on December 7, 2021
I saw a dog sticking its head out a car window in New Haven, and for the first time, I asked myself "why do dogs do that?" A quick search brought me to an ABC news article that asked a zoologist this same question. Their answer was:
"Their head is jam-packed full of sensors, so when they stick their head out the window, they've got this great pressure of air moving at great speed over them, and it's a sensory overload."
So this is their version of us walking into a candle store and smelling everything we can. But it's even better since dogs can smell it all at once. I don't know if dogs can distinguish each smell, but do they need to?
Imagine smelling every single scented candle in a store at the same time. You couldn't pick out each candle's scent, but the total sum of scents you get...that would be an experience. It'd likely be overwhelming for some people and they'd have to stop smelling it. I'd likely get a headache and have to step outside.
Not dogs, though. They get a collective scent like that pushed in their face, they love it and keep smelling as long as possible. Even knowing there are likely some bad scents mixed in, like cigarettes or folks leaving the gym.
That is hardcore smelling skill and passion on display there. Dogs poking their heads our car windows aren't only cute, they're olfactory badasses.