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Does your dog like to stick their head out the window when you’re driving? Do you ever wonder why this seems so natural and common for our four-legged friends?

So many smells…

A dog’s smell is much greater than ours, nearly 40x greater! Dogs tend to navigate the world primarily through their nose. When your dog sticks their nose out the window as the car is moving, the wind carries all those smells or odor molecules from the outside world over the scent receptors in their nose. There are many different smells to catch in the breeze while driving. Imagine a scent buffet!

So much to see…

A dog’s dominant sense may be their smell, but that doesn’t exclude their other senses. While dogs are more near-sighted than humans, they have a wider scope of vision than us, can see more clearly in the dark, and have better motion visibility. This means that when they stick their head out of a moving car window they can see more clearly the objects and landscapes passing by. Simply put, your dog sticks their head out the window for the same reason we look out the window…to see where they are going. Combined with their greater sense of smell and acute hearing, our dog’s heads are an amazing sensory apparatus that takes in a lot of information at once!

The world is more exciting…

When the windows are rolled down and your dog is allowed to poke their head out for a sniff, the entire world opens up! With all the scents blowing past their noses, the sights rushing by, and the sounds, the outside world is a sensory overload for our dogs, one that is much more exciting than the inside of a car.

Because it’s FUN!

Despite all the sights, smells, and sounds, some dogs prefer the calm and quiet from inside the car. This means that for those dogs who enjoy the experience, they choose to do it simply because it’s pleasurable to them. Dogs live their lives in accordance to what makes them happy and feel content, and if sticking their head out of a moving car window is something your dog looks forward to, then they are doing it for the pure fun of it! Whether it’s for the scents, the sights, or the anticipation of getting where they’re going, dogs choose to do this because they enjoy it. And if they don’t, that’s okay too. The more we learn about our furry friends, the more we realize that animals are not so different than us; experiencing life with pleasure and a sense of enjoyment in what they do!

So, the next time you invite your dog for a car ride, roll down the windows and let them experience the pure joy of all the scents, sights, and sounds of the world around them. The wind rushing past their face is nothing short of freedom and fun!