The limits of dogs' smelling ability

If I was trapped in a barrel in a lake I leave a note so that the rescue people did not use a dog because I know they can’t do it under the conditions right now. Me & my family will just wait for some other way …

I have these all printed up & ready to send to all local rescue people & departments so they will know in advance to not try.

I deal with only certainties that I believe in thankyouverymuch.

How many want to join my movement?

↑ ↑ sarcasm

I have seen dogs do too many impossible things to blow off something like this with out a lot of further investigation. YMMV :smiley:

My description of how scent hunting dogs determine which direction their prey is travelling is hardly anecdotal. It is well documented that hounds track by scent and therefore without witnessing it, one must conclude that they are sensitive enough to differentiate between adjacent footprints and figure out which direction to go.

The only thing anecdotal was my specific example of this well-known ability in practice.

You have to teach the dog that he can influence the direction of the boat. You do this in training and by watching the dog’s body language so that the boat can be steered to follow which side he goes to until you see by his behaviour, that he seems to be on to something, so you continue to work towards it until the dog gives his trained indication that he has found the strongest source of the scent he has been trained to find.

It’s training folks… you don’t start out with a random dog on a boat and expect him to find odour in the middle of the lake. It starts with a puppy being trained to find the target odour - in this case, I’m guessing cadaver, because generally drugs or bombs or bedbugs aren’t hiding at the bottom of a pond or river, and you build from easy finds, to harder finds and longer searches, and then you introduce things like searching for odour near water, beside ponds, in swamps, and along creeks and rivers and then, if you have the right dog and handler, on water from a boat.

For a search and rescue dog, all training, testing and deployment should be logged so that there is a clear record of performance, both good and bad. There are scammers out there with dogs who make outrageous claims, but there’s good reason that so many police forces call in search and rescue teams or cadaver dogs. There are a lot of good dogs that can do amazing things, including finding body parts in a lake.

A dog can only be trained to do things that are possible. A dog can’t be trained to smell stuff on Mars. If the scenario in my OP was legit I think it’s obvious that the dog was well-trained.

Anyone know of a paper where the sensitivity of a dog nose has been quantized? This would probably depend on breed and selection of the dog itself.

Otherwise we seem to have nothing but a bunch of anecdotes.

I saw this documentary again, and it was pork that was in the container and the lake was 1 mile long by 1/2 mile wide. It was also raining a bit. The dog was supposedly able to find the container to within a 30 foot circle.