The Dog’s Incredible Nose.
Thousands of dog’s are employed around the world to use their incredible nose to solve problems and keep us safe. Professional scent detection dogs are trained to sniff out almost anything, including drugs, explosives, fire accelerants, human remains, and other animal species, including bed bugs! Dogs are employed in these roles by airports, the military and drug enforcement agencies. Scent-tracking dogs are used in rescue missions, detecting contraband and tracking of criminal suspects.
There is now a competitive sport, where dogs are trained in ‘nose work’. The dogs are trained to find a specific scent (usually birch, anise or cloves) and alert the trainer by sitting at their feet. The dog is rewarded for finding the scent that has been hidden in a specific place in an obstacle course.
Nose work is a fun way for dogs to use their natural talents. It gives smart high energy dogs a sense of purpose and exercises them.
Dogs are unique in their sense of smell because of the 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose. By comparison, humans have only 400 olfactory receptors, making our scent detection extremely inferior to that of the dog.
A much larger proportion of the canine brain is devoted to analysing scent compared with the human brain.
Dogs have nice long nostrils which can sniff in up to 30ml of air per nostril, each nostril separately sampling the air to assist them localise an odour.
A dog is in an ‘active sniffing’ posture when it has it’s nose down and tail up.
Dogs interpret the world through smell in the same way people depend on sight.