Ask Uncle John Anything: The Dog Days Are Over!

September 8, 2014

Uncle John knows pretty much everything—and if he doesn’t, he heads his massive research library, or puts one of his many associates on the case. So go ahead: In the comments below, ask Uncle John anything. (And if we answer your question sometime, we’ll send you a free book!) Today’s question comes from Lyn B., who asks…

Why will a dog stick its head out of a moving car, but hates it when you blow in its face?

Why will a dog stick its head out of a moving car, but hates it when you blow in its face?

This is a two-part question, but let’s answer the second part first. Dogs don’t like it when you blow in their face because…it’s annoying. Do you like it when someone—a person or a dog—blows in your face? Certainly not. So that settles that.

Now then, back to the first part: why do most dogs love sticking their head out of a car window? Animal behavior experts think it’s because at the end of the day dogs are simple creatures who appreciate simple things. And, simply put, getting to go for a ride in the car is the most exciting thing to happen to your dog all day. Remember how in all those teen movies in the ‘80s, when the characters would stick their heads out of the top of the limo and scream? Your dog is doing that, in its own way – the wind rushes past its face is not that different than the exciting force of air a human might experience in a convertible or on a roller coaster.

It’s also your dog’s change to soak in its surroundings. If your dog is inside all day, sticking its head out of the window is how he sees the sights…but mostly he just wants to smell them. Animal experts’ top explanation is that dogs want to smell everything around them. Dogs have a sense of smell thousands of times more astute than humans, and smelling things is a dog’s primary sensory technique. With that head stuck out the window, he can smell food, other dogs, other humans, and, well, everything else that a dog likes to smell.