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The Benefits of Scentwork

Some of you may be wondering about scent work and why it's so important for our dogs, so this blog post is for you! As a UK Sniffer Dogs Instructor, I am running scent classes and workshops to help inject some positivity and confidence into your dog's life.

Scent detection training has been around for years, helping to search for drugs, bombs, human remains and missing people. More recently, they are even being trained to sniff out cancer and alert us to medical issues such as epilepsy and diabetes - how amazing is that?!

You might not need all of this, but you can still learn the skills to train and take part in scent training activities. Why? Well...

Want to know some more facts about your dog's nose?

  • Using vision as an example, if a human was to see a third of a mile away, a dog would see more than 3,000 miles away

  • Just like we see in 3D, dogs can smell in 3D. Human eyes see two slightly different pictures and put them together to make one big picture. Dog's nostrils can work independently in a similar fashion, detecting and selecting specific scents appropriate to their task.

  • Your dog has up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to your 6 million - the part of their brain responsible for this is 40 times larger than ours too!

  • They can smell 100,000 times better than us. In fact, their noses are so sensitive, they can detect half a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic sized swimming pool

  • Your dog's nose can separate air into two, 12% going towards the olfactory sensing area responsible for distinguishing scents and the other 88% going towards breathing.

  • Your dogs can take in air and breathe out at the same time, creating a continuous flow of air. We can't do this!

  • Dogs have an extra olfactory organ called the Vomeronasal organ which detects pheromones. This helps dog's identify suitable mates, discern between friendly animals or potential predators, recognise emotional states, notice pregnancy and detect illness such as cancer.

  • Dogs can smell time by using odours specific to that time in their environment. For example, as the sun makes its journey over your house, heating up the rooms at particular times, it releases scents that your dogs can detect.

  • If you were to roll out a human's olfactory region it would be approximately the size of an A4 piece of paper. A dog's would be the size of a football pitch!

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