Do Dogs Recognize Us With Smell More Than Sight?

We've probably all seen it - dogs who don't seem to recognize obviously familiar people until they get a good sniff of them. Why is that?


Do Dogs Recognize Us With Smell More Than Sight?

Have you seen this video – the one where the guy was in a hospital for five weeks and is now home, and his dog doesn’t recognize him at first? The dog is released from somewhere off camera, and there are enough voices that you can tell that there are a number of people gathered, so it’s understandable when the dog comes running toward the group and is barking and a little alarmed. The man remains sitting, and talks to the dog a little, and the dog, spooked, approaches slowly and suspiciously, and carefully reaches his nose toward the man for a sniff – and the SECOND he smells the man, his face LIGHTS up and his body explodes with joy. “IT’S MY OWNER!” Everyone laughs as the dog goes crazy with happiness, rolling around in the man’s arms.

I can’t tell you how many times I have watched this video, because my two-year-old dog Woody has done the same thing to me and some of my friends – in fact, a number of times. I’ve even seen him put up his hackles and growl, approaching someone he knows well, looking spooked, and the MOMENT he sniffs them, he transforms instantaneously, seemingly overwhelmed with delight. “My FRIEND! OMG IT’S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU!”

Do dogs have really poor vision? Is there such a thing as an eye chart or a vision test for dogs? What is up with this?

Has this ever happened to you?