As man's best friends, dogs have always been a valuable animal in the world. They are known to be loyal, loving, and accepting by many people. However, in Lady Audley's Secret by Elizabeth Braddon, Alicia, the daughter of Sir Audley, has a dog that constantly growls at Lady Audley on contact. This is unusual because dogs tend to, "change guests into family" by less barking and growling after several encounters (Papashvily 45). So what is the reason for this dislike of Lady Audley? Most people have heard that dogs can sense fear, but can they sense evil and danger? Although it is possible that the dog could sense the dangers of Lady Audley and growled from suspicion, the most likely reason of this dislike is because of the hatred Alicia has for Lady Audley.
To understand why the dog disliked Lady Audley, one must understand the intelligence of dogs. Dogs have a strong sense of smell that can pick up odors that humans cannot. In the book titled Dogs and People, Papashvily writes, "[ a dog] can detect odors of any description in great dilution and is capable of discriminations impossible to human beings, such as isolating single elements from complex compounds" (Papashvily 22). This is important to understand how sensitive a dog's sense of smell is compared to humans. This means that a dog can take one odor, and separate it into the different odors that create it. For example, when a person comes home from work, a dog can smell where they have been, who they have been with, as well as the machines and chemicals that the person used (Papashvily 25). This sense of smell is a dog's best gift, however, there are more things that can be done with their ability.
A dog's sense of smell can also travel long distances. "If [one gram of butyric acid] were spread over the entire city of Philidephia, a dog could smell it anywhere, even up to an altitude of 300 feet" (Pearsall 5). This is important because it shows the distance of what a dog can smell. Compared to humans, who could only smell the butyric acid from a window, a dog sense of smell has proven to be far beyond the distance of a man. Because of this extended sense of smell, dogs are able to smell the different odors from people that are not near. This extended sense of smell comes in handy for those who need to find people and it is also a clue as to why the dog does not like Lady Audley. However, it is not only their sense of smell that makes them intelligent, but it is also their sense of sight.
Dogs have a powerful sight that is sensitive to movement. Stanley Coren, the author of How Dogs Think, writes, "dogs not only see motion more easily, but they have the ability to recognize familiar objects on the basis of their motion patterns alone" (28). This means that a dog can discover who a person is just by the way they move. This is significant because a dog's motion sensitivity causes it to pay close attention to all kinds of movements that could possibly symbolize something else. "Detecting that something has moved, what that something might be, based upon the pattern of movement, is very important for a hunter" (26). Although dogs have both a powerful sense of smell and a strong sensitivity to motion, they are not dependent on either one, but use them together interchangeably to draw conclusions.