Does your dog like the wind in his face? Does he put his head out of the car window and pose there, ears and hair flowing in the breeze as if he was auditioning for a shampoo advertisement on the television? It sometimes seems they can't get enough of that airflow and they'll even bite at it. Does your dog do that too? Some dogs don't even need to be in a car to enjoy the wind in their face. They'll stand as still as a statue facing the wind on the sidewalk, in the park, in the garden or on the beach, just letting it blow over them. Strange isn't it? So why do dogs like to feel the wind in their face?
The Root of the Behavior
For a dog, the wind is akin to the mail service or, in other words, it could be the canine substitute for a cell phone. It carries messages. No, not spoken ones nor text messages or letters either, but scents and sounds which your dog's amazing senses translate into information in his brain. To him, standing with his face to the wind is like us humans suddenly getting a 4G internet connection after you've been on 2G for the past year. He receives a thick and fast flood of communication which his heightened olfactory sense will decode so he knows exactly what's happening around him. When your dog's got his eyes closed, head into the breeze and nostrils twitching, he's reading the air like a book. He'll know who's been where, who's done what and he'll find it more exciting than any page-turning thriller. If he was still undomesticated, it would be his way of understanding his environment and act as an early warning of any impending dangers or attacks from other animals. Once your dog has finished using the wind like his personal news broadcasting channel, he may stay muzzle to the current just to enjoy the sensation of it rushing past his face. If you've ever been on a beach and a sea breeze has blown around you, caressing your hair, you'll know how relaxing that can feel. Your dog enjoys that too, just the same way he would if you were stroking him or rubbing that soft spot behind his ears. If your dog snaps and bites at the wind, as far as he's concerned, it's a toy. Anything that moves is fair game to be chased or played with and he won't be averse to using one of nature's elements to keep himself amused. He probably enjoys the buffeting, thinks it has more of a physical body than it actually does because he can feel it, but he won't be able to comprehend for the life of him why he can't catch it between his jaws.
Encouraging the Behavior
Dogs love to feel the wind in their face. Many are aficionados of poking their heads from a car window to get a good blast of the circulating air. While this appears enjoyable for the dog it does have certain perils. If you brake suddenly because of some sudden traffic incident on the road ahead, your dog can lose his footing and take a serious knock which could even end in broken bones. Worse still, and far too frequent an occurrence, is that your dog could get excited by something he smells on the breeze. It might be a rabbit, a gopher or even another dog you just happen to be driving past. If he finds the scent irresistible and decides to take chase and if the window is open far enough, he may well leap out. If that happens, your dog could suffer a serious injury, which is not good by any means. While dogs do love to feel the wind in their face, there's a correct time and place for doing it. When he's out for a walk in the park or on the beach is the perfect time for him to scent adventure on the breeze. In the car, but only if the window is rolled down just enough for him to stick his nose out or the air vent is open to maximum and he's sitting safely, harnessed in a seat.
Other Solutions and Considerations
The wind can carry debris. Not tornado or hurricane style, but minuscular bugs which are carried along by the flow. If you're traveling in a vehicle at a high velocity and your dog has his head out of the window, a bug could hit him in the eye and cause him serious ocular damage. If you think your dog has an insect in his eye or has been hurt by one, you might want to consider getting a vet to take a look at it. It's not healthy for a pup to be exposed to a constant stream of cold air either. He may like to feel it on his face, but if it continues for any prolonged length of time, he could catch a chill which will require medical treatment.
Dogs do love to feel the wind in their face, but as pet owners it's our responsibility to make sure he's safe and secure while he's enjoying his sensory input. Until he's either learned to read or use a computer, sniffing the wind is his only way of getting the inside angle on the neighbours antics.