How to throw a Sniffer dog off a scent?

There is a myth, that dogs seem to have smelling superpowers. They will sniff out your efforts in hiding something, in fact, they can detect a unique odor in parts per billion. They are so good that they can detect underwater, underground, and certainly in a suitcase or even in a smelling shoe.

Can you trick a sniffer dog?

Is it possible to take a drug dog off a scent? It is nigh on impossible to trick them. But let’s delve deeper into the question, rather than a simple yes or no.

Realistically, it is impossible to fool a sniffer dog, Dogs have been taught to detect an unbelievable amount of things, for example, drugs, explosives, human remains, cancer, firearms, low blood sugar emergencies in humans, mobile phones, and a lot more others.

Once they’ve mastered the smell of what they are supposedly looking for, then it is nearly impossible to trick them off the scent. Infact, the more challenging the test, the more better the dog gets, because they get rewarded for success.

They have been trained to pick up a particular scent among others. For example drug dogs are specifically trained to sniff drugs, and the only way to stop them is to cover everything with that scent. So if the scent is giving off an unfamiliar odour, the dog will get confused and be set off the trail, but this doesn’t work all the time.

For instance, coffee is very unpleasant to dogs and can be used by cocaine dealers to mask the smell of cocaine, but unless you are smuggling small amounts, you would have to need a lot of coffee, which might be suspicious and alarm dog handlers.

The logic behind this is to use a triggering smell or an unpleasant smell to diguise a contraband and due to the irritating effect on the dog’s noses, the dog is unable to detect anything. This only lasts untill the fumes are dispelled anyways.

Another technique is to wrap some notes in with the drugs to contaminate them. Apparently, notes picks up the scent of drug easily and with a sniffing dog around, the dog will fixate on the scent of the notes, rather than the drugs.

This trick is to set it off with another over powering scent. You can sprinkle cayenne pepper or smear the package with a menthol cream or petroleum jelly. Also to further confuse the dog, take the drugs and sprinkle it everywhere as this will give it many responses and it won’t be able to find where exactly the drugs are stacked.

This is because their sense of smelling is like our hearing or sometimes, our vision. As we are very good with locating where sounds come from, but at a distance we get overwhelmed with many noise, so also is a dog’s sense of smell.

Another effect could be to package it in an absolute gas tight material containing nothing but a vacuum. The reason may be because  light require no medium to travel through but smell does, such as air and water, so the odour might be concealed. Chances are that, you are still getting outsniffed.

So how exactly does a dog’s sense of smell work?

Here is how a dog’s sense of smell work. A dog’s sense of smell can be divided into two categories ; the normal nose in which the dog can approximately detect 1 smell molecule in 4000. And a working nose that the dog can approximately detect 1 scent molecule in 12000.

Let’s try to make things clearer, when a human makes a stew, they combine numerous ingredients and mix them all and cook it. A human nose would only smell “soup”, but a dog’s nose would smell all the individual ingredients separately and also the overall smell.

Their sense of smell is so sophisticated that it opens up layers within the smell that gives information to the dog. Everything in our environment has a distinct smell to your dog, and can relay fresh information, even down to the different parts of the same object.

For instance, rose has a single smell to humans but each petals on the rose have an individual smell to dogs.

So if you put a cocaine bag in a bag of meat and sprinkle it with cayenne pepper or coffee, the dog would smell the drugs, the bags, the coffee, the meat all individually and together, so this is why trying to mask the scent with too many scents might not work, the dog will alert anyway.

Why can’t a dog smell through a air tight container?

But what a sniffer dog might not be able to smell through is airtight containers made of glass. If they are correctly sealed, then no scent would be given off  and there’s nothing for the dog to smell.

Plastic containers, or wrappings, even if vacuumed packed or sealed airtight might become porous and give off. So when the odour escapes, a dog can still pick on the scent of what’s inside the package. Even in some cases, minuscule traces of the drug might be laced on the outside wrappings probably from fingers from the person handling it, so transference is very possible.

So if you are trying to hide drugs or any contraband from a dog, you better don’t underestimate a dog’s olfactory abilities . If dogs can smell an individual cancer cell deep inside the human body and can smell cadavers buried deep inside the ground or dumped inside a water, then they definitely would sniff out the distinctive smell of cocaine or drugs, even though it is laced with coffee or pepper.

Related information.

What breeds are typically used as drug dogs?

Dogs can serve a multitude of functions, ranging from companionship to helping the police. However, not all dogs are suitable for providing services for police such as search and rescue or sniffing of drugs.

Bloodhound, Belgian Malinois, Boxer, Dutch Shepherd, Labrador Retriever in no particular order have been proven to be one of the best police dogs so far.