Scent Detection

by Jamie Bozzi

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Ever been in line at the airport and see a dog wearing a vest, sniffing the carryons? Or maybe you’ve seen a search and rescue team on TV with canines searching for a missing person.

The working dogs that you see have been specifically trained to locate certain odors—contraband, illegal substances like narcotics and/or explosives, or even human scents (living skin cells or decomposed remains).

Dogs have an amazing olfactory capacity. They have 300 million scent receptors per nostril. Humans only have 6 million. Proportionally speaking, the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times greater than ours. And while science continues to learn more about a dog’s incredible olfaction capabilities, we are using our four-legged friends in a variety of useful applications.

Types of working scent detection dogs:

• Narcotics (criminal)

• Explosives (national security)

• Accelerant (insurance)

• Environmental (endangered species)

• Human remains (cadaver)

• Bed bugs (pest control)

• Contaminants (like water toxins and other harmful chemicals)

• Early cancer detection (health and medical)

Our pet dogs can also perform the same tasks—the same type of scent activities as professional working dogs.

All dogs have the capacity to use their noses. Eye sight may fail, hearing may diminish, but the nose always knows! Dogs use their noses every day, the same way we use our eyes. They experience their world with their noses. We just teach dogs what to find and how to tell us about (communicate) that find.

Scent work classes are loads of fun! Dogs learn challenging puzzle games, and they improve their problem-solving skills.

For more information on AKC scent work, visit akc.org/scentwork. Check out this AKC scent work video: www.youtube. com/watch?v=IFYKoldNrFM

In scent detection classes, dogs are taught multiple “elements”—an element is a type of search. These searches mimic a variety of professional working dog jobs. Types of searches include containers (TSA); vehicles (border patrol); buried (cadaver); interior and exterior (narcotics and explosives); and handler discrimination (your scent).

Scent work has many benefits and is easy to do. Benefits include:

• Helps build confidence and environmental resilience

• Any dog can participate (any age/any breed)

• No expensive or bulky equipment

• Uses only positive reinforcement techniques

• Helps you bond with your dog

• And, most important—it’s fun!

All levels of scent detection classes are offered at the new Dream Dogs facility, located in Bermuda Dunes. Instructor Jamie Bozzi is the only Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) in the Coachella Valley. For more information, contact Dream Dogs at (760) 899-7272dreamdogs.com Facebook @DreamDogsDogTraining

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