Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Curious Allure

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There are a couple of things missing from the video I posted two days ago of Delilah’s morning walk, that are frequent parts of her daily surveillance of our property. Below is a hurried, and thus blurry, photo I took, catching her in one of the actions yesterday showing her engaged in the classic canine behavior of scent rolling.

DSCN4383eOne explanation (of several) for scent rolling is that the dog might be trying to cover their own scent with another, as a leftover instinctual behavior from days when they were wild and had to hunt for food. The “scent-disguise” would help them sneak up on prey.

This would make sense for the times Delilah is seeking out the little critters hiding beneath the snow.

But what is the invisible scent that she picks to roll in that would cover her own and not alarm her prey? My guess is, rabbit. What animal would feel threatened by the smell of a rabbit?

The other thing Delilah does that amazes me about a dog’s nose is her occasional focus on individual tiny branches of things growing about a foot or two off the ground. It usually starts with the usual check of tracks on the ground or in the snow, but in certain instances, her attention become riveted and she moves her nose in minuscule increments along some spindly stem.

How much scent can there even be on such a tiny surface, I wonder.

Yesterday, I noticed she was taking things one step further. She was also licking the twig.

DSCN4382eWhat could possible be so enticing to her?

Then it occurred to me that the question was even more intriguing because of the height at which she was picking up this scent. I know that she is extremely fond of rabbits and rodents, but those are all too small to be rubbing up against things growing that high. Even a wandering cat would be unlikely to be the source.

The other common animal that gets Delilah all riled up is a deer, but they are tall enough that it seems unlikely there would be much in the way of contact that low. So, whatever it is would most likely be similar in size to Delilah.

A fox or coyote, maybe?

Time for me to invest in a trail camera, I guess. Or learn to read animal tracks.

I should probably get a trail cam.

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Written by johnwhays

January 25, 2016 at 7:00 am

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