NOVADog Magazine Fall 2017

Page 8

E X P E R T  A D V I C E

A n s w e rs to y ou r b e h a v i o r a n d tra i n i n g q u e s ti o n s

The Dog’s Nose Knows Here’s why we are still reliant upon canine noses for critical tasks By Eri c M . C r y a n , D .V.M


uring this powerful and tragic hurricane season, one beacon of hope after the storms has been NoVa’s own Virginia Task Force 1. Fairfax County’s Fire and Rescue department sponsors this domestic and international disaster response resource. They have state-of-the -art technology to help with the location and rescue of people after a disaster strikes, but no piece of technology is more valuable than the canine companions that travel with them. These dogs use their unrivaled sense of smell to locate trapped survivors of natural disasters that are out of sight and sound of their human handlers. Similarly, our custom and border patrols utilize canines to track down the illegal smuggling of food, people, animals, and illicit

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substances. The Department of Homeland Security and other police forces have canines trained in explosive detection. Why, in this day and age with the advanced technologies available to us, are we still reliant upon canine noses for such critical tasks? The answer lies in the canine’s unique biological adaptations that give it its exceptional sense of smell.

Superior Sense of Smell It is hard to quantify how superior the canine sense of smell is when compared to our own. While experts disagree on how many orders of magnitude a dog’s sense of smell excels our own, we can all marvel at the amazing tasks they are able to perform

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