A purpose in life being an Oldie
“For one thing, they possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analysing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours.
Put another way, dogs can detect some odours in parts per trillion. What does that mean in terms we might understand? Well, in her book Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, writes that while we might notice if our coffee has had a teaspoon of sugar added to it, a dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth. Another dog scientist likened their ability to catching a whiff of one rotten apple in two million barrels.” - Dogs' Dazzling Sense of Smell, By Peter Tyson, Posted 10.04.12, NOVA scienceNOW
However, as animals (humans, too!) age, the cells that make up our nerves and brain undergo oxidative damage, becoming less efficient.
But this shouldn´t stop you from trailing your older dogs. Keeping your dog active can also help to extend the life span!
We have dogs trailing with us that are 11,5 years old. And they love it! Just because your dog is older, doesn´t mean he/she doesn´t want to enjoy their retirement.
The trails might not be as long and the find not as quick, but having a purpose in life, makes one feel so much better. With age our dogs start having problems like Arthritis and become a bit more fragile. But with Mantrailing, they don´t need to jump over obstacles or climb steep A-frames. They just follow their natural ability – their sense of smell.
You are keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated, and that´s what makes them happy!