Drugs, explosives, insects, diseases … with a good training programme, it is possible to train a dog to sniff out almost anything! It just has to have a smell, even if it is imperceptible to humans!
The dog’s sense of smell and detection
Dogs have a highly developed sense of smell, which is an extraordinary superpower! They owe their abilities to their nose, which has more than 200 million olfactory receptors. Humans have only 5 million. The dog’s nose is also divided in two. One of the passages allows it to identify odours, while the other is used for breathing.
This means that the dog is able to discriminate between smells and analyze them one by one, even if they are all mixed together in the air. Thanks to this superpower, dogs can be taught to identify and find many different smells. For example, they can be trained to detect drugs, explosives, insect pests, humans, oil leaks and even COVID-19!
There is nothing and no one as effective as a drug-sniffing dog in quickly inspecting lockers, offices or people for drugs. Their sense of smell is so well developed that they can pick up the scent of drugs they have been trained to recognize even through clothing, luggage or lockers.
Detection of explosives
Dogs are true allies when it comes to the detection of explosives. They are able to function in all environments. They can be found in the transport industry, such as cargo and train stations, or at events of all kinds. They help to make places safe and avoid tragic events.
Canine detection in fire investigations
The nose of a detector dog is also very useful in determining whether a fire is accidental or arson. In fact, some dogs have been trained to detect the presence of an accelerant at fire sites. They identify areas in the rubble where there are traces of accelerants. Subsequently, samples can be taken for analysis. This way they help to solve the investigation more efficiently!
Detection of insect pests
Some insect pests can wreak havoc. Just think of the infamous bedbugs, a real scourge in the Montréal area, or certain insects that destroy entire plantings in greenhouses. Dogs could be used to find the emerald ash borer and other species that wreak havoc.
Dogs have proven to be very effective in detecting insects and thus preventing infestations with significant economic and ecological costs.
The bloodhound is trained to follow the trail of wounded big game. It can help the hunter to locate and retrieve an animal that has been lost during the hunt.
The usefulness of detector dogs in the health sector
Dogs have such a keen sense of smell that they are even able to detect the presence of certain diseases with a close to perfect success rates.
This type of detection is very effective due to an environment that is easily controlled in the laboratory. Since the biosample tests are presented to the dogs in a room with few distractions, it is easy for the dog to concentrate on identifying the scents.
Studies are underway for the use of detector dogs in the early detection of various kinds of cancer, including breast cancer. It is simply a matter of there being a difference between healthy samples and those with cancer that the dog can detect with its sense of smell.
Even more recently, training of canine units for COVID-19 detection has begun. The dogs used in the study were reportedly able to recognize the smell of the virus in the sweat of the subjects with a success rate of between 90 and 100%. This advance will allow for mass screening of large crowds, such as at airports, for example!
Dogs can detect hypoglycemic episodes in people with diabetes. They can also predict a migraine attack and warn their owner before symptoms appear.
The effectiveness of dogs in detecting diseases will allow for the development of new methods of early detection that will be less invasive. And more efficient!
Oil leak detection
An oil leak has very negative effects on the environment. The addition of a detector dog to the methods of leak detection already in place is a great asset!
At customs, detector dogs are used to detect the presence of currency, food, firearms or drugs. They help to speed up the process, as they are able to do this quickly, without the need for extensive searches.
Detector dogs have proven their effectiveness in searching for humans, both alive and dead. While human teams can take weeks without finding anything, sometimes a single dog can track a dead body in a few minutes.
Their great efficiency has been demonstrated in several situations, even in searching bodies of water.
The work of these dogs makes it possible to advance investigations and to give some answers to the families of the deceased.
The effectiveness of detector dogs is a considerable asset
By teaming up with a handler, trained detector dogs improve the efficiency of interventions! They are able to scour a very large area in a very short time. Not to mention that they are able to pick up scents through objects or on moving people, even when attempts have been made to disguise the scent!
We offer training services adapted to your needs for the detection of odours of all kinds, and for all environments. Our training takes place in the field with the goal of independent certification, such as by the American Working Dog Association.