Why do dogs get such a charge out of sticking their noses out the window of a moving car? Are they simply enjoying the feel of wind in their faces, flapping their ears to the point of almost-takeoff?
I don’t think that’s it at all. Allow yourself to quasi-experience the window rush from a dog’s perspective, and you’ll deduce an entirely different conclusion.
Our dogs’ sense of smell is as much as 1,000 times more sensitive and discerning than our own. Dogs experience life primarily in terms of scents.
Stop for just a second. Close your eyes and attempt to experience the room you currently occupy solely in terms of fragrances and odors. You may feel differently about your environment, living in an infinitely redolent world.
The combination of dogs+cars+open windows+high speeds is a magnificent recipe for a constantly changing scent-scape. A similar human experience might manifest itself as a fireworks display or a 3D light show, with rich visuals constantly, erratically changing.
It’s no wonder then they seem so entranced and happy! The airstream past the window must be like a Doggie Disney World.
Though I’ve met thousands of dogs, I’ve never met a one who can’t sniff out a liver treat I’ve dropped on the floor. Canines who get on in years may experience diminished eyesight or hearing, but providence seems to have protected them in some way from losing their most important connection with the world. Even the most elderly of dogs can pick his family out of a crowd.