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Trained to Smell

A dog’s strongest sense is smell (not surprising, I know).  There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Olfactory Receptors (Smell Receptors): While humans have around 6 million olfactory receptors, dogs can have 300 million of them. That’s 50 times more than us!  No wonder they are quite the sniffers!
  2. Jacobson’s Organ: Dogs even have a secondary olfactory organ called ‘Jacobson’s organ’. It is located inside the nasal cavity and its purpose is specifically for chemical communication.  Chemical communication is often used to mark territories.
  3. Olfactory Lobe: The olfactory lobe’s function is to understand what smell is. Not surprisingly, a dog’s olfactory lobe is much larger than ours is – a whopping 40x bigger!

Now that we know WHY a dog can smell so well, WHAT can they be trained to smell is a bigger question! The list is getting longer each year it seems. Here are a few!

  • Low blood sugar
  • Certain cancers
  • Seizures
  • Explosives
  • Illegal drugs
  • Money
  • Blood
  • Contraband electronics
  • Coronavirus

Breeds such as the Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Basset hound, Coonhound and Labradors are most typically used for scent training.  Any breed can be taught how to detect certain scents.  You can even start the process off right at home and it can be an added fun game for you and your pet.

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