Dog Activities, Dog Lifestyle, Pets and Family

Amazing Dog Series: What is a Scent Dog Used For?

If you have been paying attention to the recent news of the devastating Tornadoes in Kentucky you know that amazing dogs used their scent detection skills to be a large part of the rescue effort as they were during almost any major disaster involving human life such as Hurricane Katrina, the devastation of the Trade Towers, and many more but scent detection is much more for the thousands of scent detection dogs that are trained in the United States and the entire world.  

What Do Scent Detection Dogs Find?

Scent detection dogs use their scent detection skills in many ways to support humans and for recreation including using their scent detection skills for the following:

  • Medical Detection
  • Search and Rescue
  • Detecting Pests
  • Hunting and detecting certain predators 
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Detecting unhealthy microbiomes in our environment
  • For sport
  • Detecting cadavers 
  • Explosives and Landmines

How do scent detection dogs detect smells?

Domestic dogs can detect substances at much lower concentrations than humans and their area of olfactory epithelium is much greater than that of humans resulting in a dog’s sense of smell is almost 100,000 times stronger than humans as we discuss in our article on whether dogs can detect cancer.  Dogs are used by humans to locate a range of substances because of their superior olfactory acuity, says researchers in Irish Veterinary Journal.

Can you train your dog to detect scent?

Yes, you can train your dog to do scent work!  There are many articles about how to do so.  The first step is deciding what scent you want your dog to find since you will use that scent in your training.  This makes training very tricky at times for conservation dogs which includes using the scent that you are training your dog to detect in your training, which makes trainers like Christian Fritz, who trains his dog to detect turtles and their eggs for conservation and Captain Ron who finds turtle eggs to support conservation.

 As you consider all of the ways scent detection dogs are used, also consider all of the ways they need to be trained to do their job and the unique differences between them.  A dog trained to find a particular type of bee will be different from a cancer or Covid-19 detecting dog.

Have you tried scent detection work with your dog?  Let us know in the comments below.

Scent Detection Dog Stories

Check out more in our Amazing Dogs Series.  Dogs that inspire us:

Amazing Dogs Series: 5 Amazing Livestock Guardian Dogs and their Jobs

Amazing Dog Series – The Complete Guide to Emotional Support Animals (Plus Handy Infographic comparison ESA to Service Dogs and Downloadable sample ESA letter)

Amazing Dogs Series: Amazing Jobs- Conservation Detection Dogs Jobs for Conservation Koala Detection 

Amazing Dog Series: The Important Dog Job of Cadaver Dogs