The 5 Senses and Their Role in Dog Training

Wednesday, December 28, 2022 11:30:02 AM America/Los_Angeles

Did you know that training often requires our canine companions to utilize multiple senses? The five senses – sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing – all play an important part in the training process, as dogs learn to listen for specific signals, recognize certain cues, identify unique textures, and more!

Photo by Andrea Cairone


Sight provides critical information during the training process by offering important visual information alongside verbal cues. This is why many trainers will recommend using a hand gesture along with a voice command. Supplementing a voice command with a visual provides extra clues to help you communicate with your furry one. 


As natural-born hunters, dogs use their noses for identifying and locating objects of interest. Smell can be a strong motivator, which is why treats should be kept hidden until a task has been accomplished; treats can be downright distracting if your pooch catches sight – or smell – of them.

However, smell can work to your benefit during training. Pee pads, for instance, are helpful during potty training, because they have a unique odor and texture in addition to offering a clear visual marker. Utilizing an indoor dog bathroom can emphasize those qualities that pups are naturally drawn to. Subscribe to a real bark pee pad today for a pet potty that feels intuitive to your furry one’s instincts! 


Touch is often underrated when it comes to training. Humans tend to think that sight, smell, and hearing are the only senses at work. However, touch is vital for dogs, who use their paws to explore the world around them. It’s one reason they love to dig! When training, different textures can provide critical cues for the learning process. 

Work with your pup’s sense of touch for potty training by using a wee wee pad. The different textures in addition to the unique scent of a real bark pee pad like Bark Potty offers extra cues that inform your dog about where and where not to “go.” 


Taste is another sense that is commonly overlooked. But considering that dogs develop their sense of taste before they can even see, it plays an important role in their lives. It’s no wonder that treats send such a major signal to a dog’s brain! While taste may play less of a role during training (aside from the tasty rewards they receive), they guide canines by alerting them to potentially toxic plants and other dangerous items. 


As you might already know, dogs have an incredible sense of hearing that supports their hunting instincts. This not only provides them with a broader range of hearing than humans, their fine-tuned hearing also helps them identify the owner of different voices and noises. This explains why a dog may listen to a command from their human, but not another person that they’re less familiar with. A dog’s sensitivity to sound is one of the reasons why clicker training has been successful for so many pups and their pawrents. The brief, distinctive sound of a clicker sends a clear message to your dog about whether or not they’re on the right track.