I frequently walk the dogs off their leashes in the fields between the golf fairways near our house. In the late evening and early morning, we frequently encounter rabbits in the open on the edges of the fairways. Xena has become an avid rabbit hunter, but she remains a terrible one. She just doesn’t see the rabbits until she practically trips over them. Tippie, on the other hand, spots them from a distance and gives a try at catching them (NOTE: Tippie has never come close to actually catching a rabbit, and I don’t expect either dog ever to catch one).
This morning, the reason for this difference finally dawned on me: Tippie is sight-oriented; Xena is smell-oriented. While she’s running around, Tippie has her head up looking a ways in front of her. Xena, on the other hand, has her head down and her nose working furiously. She’s an enthusiastic hunter because she smells the rabbits, but she can’t actually locate one that’s in the open because her attention is on the smells in her immediate vicinity. Before she gets close enough to smell a rabbit, it has already run into the weeds.

Categories: Personal