A dog’s nose can do what no other resource can; none of our advanced human electronics can match it. Find a lost child, alone in the wilderness? No problem. Locate a skier burred in an avalanche? Child’s play. Assist law enforcement locating drugs?
The Power of a Dog’s Nose
Trust me; this is well within their capabilities. The avg. Canine scent is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a human’s (I am not just making this up. Wolves, ancestors to our domesticated dog breeds, evolved this ability naturally- yet another way to augment their tracking/hunting skills), and that is average. Due to something called a Jacobson’s Organ (which we don’t have), 50 or so million additional olfactory cells, an enormous increase in brain capacity devoted to analyzing scents, and anatomy designed to be much more efficient, dogs are able to easily discern scents no human on Earth ever would.
Search and Rescue dogs work alongside their handlers to both track and trail missing humans. Avalanche/ snow dogs can actually detect humans burred under 15 feet of snow! Believe it or not, dogs have shown to be beneficial in detecting cancerous cells through multiple studies.
Training Search and Rescue Dogs
Training search and rescue dogs is a gradual and careful process. Tracking dogs are first attached to a lead and harness. Handlers drop scent articles as they go, along with treat rewards. A subject (mock) hides in an easily (gradually increasing in difficulty), and the dog is enthusiastically rewarded/praised upon locating the subject.
Difficulty increases over time, adding length, curves, obstacles, etc.
Dogs really are an absolutely amazing asset for this type of work! Without the assistance of our furry friends, countless people would not be here today.
Feb. 2016– A three year old boy wanders away from his Louisiana home, becoming hopelessly lost among the dense surrounding woods. Braving intense Louisiana temperatures for hours without water, heat stroke soon becomes a very real danger for the small child.
As hours pass and the day wanes, more and more members from the surrounding community join the search. It was no human who found this child, though. It was a bloodhound named Honey, ironically not even trained for search and rescue, who eventually found this little boy.
This and More
Dogs are easily capable of this, and more; no other animal is better suited for the task! Did you know that Newfoundlands are actually fantastic swimmers, once working with fishermen alongside Labradors and now used as water search and rescue dogs?