Did you know that a dog’s sense of smell is – on average – 5,000 times more sensitive than a human’s?
And that one third of its brain is dedicated to smelling?
But even with such olfactory super-powers almost 75% of positive detections made by these canine informants turn out to be WRONG.
With our UK police so fixated on petty and vindictive arrests, it pays to ensure that you don’t fall prey to these clueless, tongue lolling mammals…
And their dogs.
Here’s 6 things you probably didn’t know can fool a sniffer dog…
1) VACUUM SEALED CONTAINERS
Contrary to popular belief, dogs cannot SMELL THROUGH things.
They can smell under things, around things and into things. They can even pick out a single smell hidden among thousands of others.
But airtight containers such as glass Mason jars create a vacuum when sealed. If no air can escape then nor can any odour. And there is nothing for the dog to detect.
Plastic containers are porous, which means that no matter how well they are sealed, odours will eventually secrete through tiny microscopic holes.
Non-porous materials such as metal and glass, when sealed air tight, won’t secrete.
However, unless the container has been sealed in almost laboratory conditions the dog is likely to detect any odour left on its surface from hands that may have come into contact with its contents.
2) DISTRACTING SMELLS
Another myth about sniffer dogs is that overwhelming odours – such as chilli powder and dried pepper – will repel the animal, mask other smells or perhaps temporarily disable it from sniffing any further.
But such a method would be counter productive for a very simple reason:-
Any sneezing recoiling dog would be regarded as a positive and would most likely trigger a full search by it’s human handler.
Furthermore, dogs can identify a single odour in a stew of smell, in the same way we can identify a single colour in a painted picture.
However, the sniffer dog does has one major handicap when it comes to detective work:-
It’s still a DOG.
Ergo it’s just as likely to be distracted by the overwhelming smells of other animals than any other dog.
If it’s picking up the sent of a bitch on heat that may have very recently been in the vicinity, or the overpowering smell of another animal’s urine such as a cat, dog or fox then this may also confound and distract the dogs search.
3) DISTRACTING FOOD
One of the most frustrating obstacles for a handler is when his dog finds food.
Especially when it’s something the dog won’t hesitate to wolf down. Such as fresh or rotting meat, half eaten fast food, or even a puddle of spew!
For this reason handlers will often regard the animal’s reaction to food as a false positive, often without so much as a cursory examination.
Burgers, fries, kebabs, chicken wings and pizzas may not attract too much scrutiny but don’t be too surprised if you’re questioned as to why you are carrying a cooler full of raw meat or a tin full of baked goods.
Hash Brownies anyone?
4) ODOURS OUT OF RANGE
A dog may have a very powerful sense of smell, but its range is actually very shallow. Hence why they spend so much time snuffling close to the ground.
Therefore the higher up the smell is, the less likely the dog will locate it.
Unless the handler is willing to lift the dog up so it can hoover everything above shoulder height, the dogs search is restricted to whatever locations it can clamber into.
Best keep this one under your hat though, eh?
5) FALSE POSITIVES
As we’ve already pointed out, nearly three quarters of positives made by sniffer dogs turn out to be false. The corresponding body or vehicle searches therefore yielding nothing.
In most cases this is simply a case of the animal responding to a residue of something the suspect may have come into contact with over the past few days.
However, if you have a particular urge to create a false positive then it’s easily done.
For instance, kneeling down and petting the dog with a strong odour of contraband on your breath is likely to create a false positive. As is stroking its muzzle with the smell on your hand.
Why anyone would want to do such a thing is beyond us. But we can imagine how amusing it might be to see thirty or so of your mates creating a false positive one after the next without having a single crumb of real contraband on your person.
6) ANOTHER DOG’S ARSE
I don’t know why anyone hasn’t thought of this before. In fact, I don’t know why I’m thinking about it now, but stuffing contraband up another dog’s arsehole has to be the most fool proof way of defeating a sniffer dog. The amount of time your average canine spends with its beak jammed up another dog’s pooper who’s likely to think anyone would be so Cheech and Chong as to exploit such a horrible fact of nature?
The added advantage to this method is that you are likely to make your contraband last much much longer. Given that no-one is likely to want to share it with you afterwards.
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