Scent Discrimination

Most people are aware of how sensitive the nose of a dog is to scent. Today dogs are being used more and more for a wide variety of activities that involve scent detection.

At the Czech Republic Police Regional Headquarters, 10 specially trained police dogs have been able to distinguish the individual scents of identical and non-identical twins even though each pair of twins tested lived in the same house and ate the same food as one another.

A report published in 2016 discussed how police in France have used specially trained German and Belgian shepherds to help resolve criminal cases. The detection dogs undergo a two-year training program and then are able to establish whether an individual has been present at a crime scene. These dogs, who are part of the Division of the Technical and Scientific Police, have assisted in 522 criminal cases between 2003 and 2016 and have helped resolve 162 cases.

In 2015, the results of a study where a dog was trained to identify the presence of thyroid cancer in humans with an 88.2 per cent accuracy, were presented to the Endocrine Society. The dog is a rescued male German Shepherd cross named “Frankie” who can detect whether patients have thyroid cancer or not through the scent of their urine samples. The study’s lead investigator David Bodenner, MD, PhD, from the University of Arkansas said that scent dogs could be used to detect cancer at early stages and assist in avoiding unnecessary surgery. He also said that the usual method of diagnosing thyroid cancer involves fine-needle aspiration and this is more invasive and only very slightly more accurate than the results obtained by “Frankie”.

The list goes on!

Scent detection for family dogs is gaining in popularity and it is a great way to tire a dog who never seems to tire.  It also increases confidence in dogs and enhances the relationship between the human and the dog.  These classes are suitable for owners with mobility issues and for dogs who may be uncomfortable around other dogs as they work one at a  time.

Classes are ongoing so enroll anytime. They are Saturdays at 9 am (45 minute class) at the K9 Club Agility Field and co-taught with Lynn Nestman of the K9 Club. Register here.   6 weeks of classes is $154.35 . The 6 classes must be completed within 8 weeks.  No classes held on long weekends. No class October 14 nor 28th. On Oct 14 we are hosting a scent discrimination workshop with Donna Toews. Join us for that!