We all know how amazing dogs are and how they can make a positive impact on our lives. Now dogs are being used to save lives by detecting serious illnesses like cancer early enough to give the best possible chance of survival.
You probably have heard about detection dogs. Detection dogs are trained to use its sense of smell to detect substances such as:
- Even some electronics like mobile phones
How good is a dog’s sense of smell
Scientist, Dr. James Walker of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, documented the power of a dog’s nose in 2002. Dr. Walker documented that a dog can smell 100,000 times better than a human with about 300 million receptors in their nose.
Can you believe that a dog can smell all the individual ingredients in a cake, they can detect your footprints and even fingerprints. When you come home, your dog can smell what you have been up to all day and even your mood.
When we are in a good mood or a bad mood, we emit hormones that our dog can detect and react to.
A dog's nose is designed for incredible smelling ability. A dog's nostrils split into two parts, one for smelling, and one for breathing. Their nose is designed to breathe in and out through different passageways to circulate and capture smells. The area dedicated to smell is relatively much large than ours.
The author of In Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz has put together this really interesting video on a dog's sense of smell.
How to train dogs to detect cancer
A dog could save your life. There are stories where dogs have instinctively detected cancer in people. Tumors emit very low concentrations of chemicals. Due to their incredible sense of smell, a dog can detect the chemical change in our body. If we can capture this chemical change, we can train dogs to detect this chemical over and over again.
Dogs learn through reward, we treat them when they sit, drop and roll over. The same reward training is used to teach dogs to smell cancer cells. Samples of human breath or urine containing cancer cells is taken and used to train the dogs.
The In Situ Foundation runs a cancer dog training program. In Situ Foundation is the unparalleled expert in the field of training cancer detection dogs, and among the first trainers to participate in published research, setting the bar for future studies on the subject
Here are some of the amazing dogs at In Situ
This is Charlie. She is a six-week-old German Shepherd. Charlie will be one of the first dogs in the world trained on upper thoracic (head,
This is Stewie. She is a 5-year-old, female, Australian Shepherd. She has been one of In Situ’s best
To learn more about cancer detecting dogs and how a dog could save your life watch this short video or go to In Situ Foundation.