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The Nose Knows



We had a drug detection dog in my department, he was a Black Labrador named Diesel. We called for the service of the dog and the handler under protest of my Sergeant. Once while Diesel was doing his job my Sergeant made a comment to me that I still laugh at today. He said, I don't know why we can't just train you to sniff out the drugs, aren't you as smart as the dog? Well I kept my mouth shut then but Sarg here is your answer.


The Amazing Canine Nose!
Dogs can sense odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can. They can detect one drop of blood in five quarts of water! Just as a human brain is wired to learn language, a large part of a dog's brain is devoted to interpreting senses. The olfactory lobe (the part of the brain that processes scent information) in dogs is four times the size of a humans.

Estimates for the dog - 125,000,000- 250,000,000 smell receptors. Human estimates are 5,000,000 to 15,000,000.

The dogs track by following the blood scent and the individual body and footprint scents of the animal, which has almost always been crossed by the tracks of healthy animals. Although distracted and intrigued by this the dog must distinguish and focus only on the wounded animal.

The difficulty in tracking a wounded animal depends upon the type of the wound and upon weather conditions, more than the age of the track. Light to medium rain on the scent line is not a problem as long as run off does not occur. The most difficult tracking weather conditions would be warm and dry with a stiff wind, unfortunately that is Texas Archery season.

A tracking dog is not infallible, like people a dog is going to have off days. There might be just too many distractions to allow the dog to concentrate. On our first call, the ranch we went on had goats, donkeys, and lamas. It proved to be to many new scents for Trapper to ignore. That was a lot to ask of a five-month-old puppy.