The nose knows
I have a poodle walk to attend this morning; it'll just be Luke and I. I have no choice but to leave Tilley at home; as heartbreaking as it is to leave her, coming home is worse. The last time that I left her at home for a poodle walk was months ago when it was going to be too long for her. On our arrival her nose went into overdrive; I know she smelled each and every dog that Luke had interactions with and she probably knew exactly where we had been as well. This is the part that kills me; the fact that she will know where and who we were with but why she wasn't with us is what she doesn't understand.
The dogs nose is an amazing apparatus; they have the ability to smell things that we could never even think of and it is all in how their nose is put together. The nose is made up of soft tissue, bones and nerves. Dog nostrils are constructed so that they can scent with an inhale of their frontal nostrils and their exhale leaves out the flexible side nostril section. This ensures that the item in which the dog is scenting is not disturbed. Once a scent is inside the nose it goes through a complicated process before making it's way to the brain. This is a great article on the subject of the nose.
My own dogs have solved several mysteries over the years. Things that were really causing me to be concerned were figured out by their scent ability and my ability to read their body language. I always wish I had the ability to scent like a dog but alas I nor you can. So we leave it to the professionals; our dogs. It is very important for our dogs to smell; scenting different things in a day is good for them. If you have habit of going on the same walk everyday; switch it up. Their nose needs new smells all the time; it's good for their brain.
So when you go out for your walk; be assured that your dog is getting a whole lot more out of the daily trek than just simply exercise.