Bloodhounds have had their noses put to work for centuries. Their nose has more receptors than any other breed. Whilst all dogs can smell the flight or fight hormone adrenaline of a human or trail on the smell of clothing etc, the bloodhound has a very high motivation to follow scent. The bonus also with this breed is that they are not aggressive once they’ve found their ‘person’. Other breeds used predominantly for police work may need to apprehend their ‘person’.
Now what could ear shape have to do with a dog’s sense of smell? For those with a folded or pendant shape ears, they act almost like a scoop, stirring up the scent molecules as the dog travels along. The statistics say the bloodhound’s sense of smell is around 1000 times ours. How this is measured we don’t know but when a dog can detect a chemical in water at a ratio of one teaspoon per swimming pool, we’re talking serious detection capabilities. His trailing accomplishments have even been presented as evidence in court.
You may have caught the episode of MythBusters where Jamie tries to outsmart a bloodhound by using a variety of tactics you may have seen in movies or read about. A smelly fish left on the ground as a distraction, the zig zag, ground pepper sprinkled about etc. Jamie even crossed a river waist-deep twice but the bloodhound still found him.
For search and rescue work, even though bloodhounds are such prodigious sniffers they still need to be trained for the work. The challenge comes, not to make them sniff but to follow the exact scent trail you want them to… with a nose that good it’s hard for them to not be distracted by a host of other smells around.
Click the following link for an interesting look at trailing work in Arizona…
Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)