Heatwaves and High Temperatures affect the Scents !
|Daisy and Willie photo by A.Higgins
Here's some advice from many years of working search dogs and Bloodhounds in very hot weather.
As heat increases in the environment where a dog is working; the scent particles change with the rising temperature. The easiest way to explain the process is to think of the scent particle your dog is looking for as shirking up the hotter the day gets and possibly before the nose gets to it.
The dog is always right but the scent may be harder to locate for the dog so giving the dog more time to look and work the scent makes sense!
Due to evaporation just like other organic or living things in the environment, the scent particle pool or trail the dog is following can dehydrate until moisture reawakens the particles, often at night or before dawn. Non-organic items or objects collect moisture during darkness as condensation that will make the scent easier to locate.
When night comes and darkness, the environment becomes wetter naturally, think of dew in the mornings. The earth absorbs the heat and the evaporating moisture during the day with the air we all breath, some of the scent too which is released at night with the exhaling of the Earth in its daily cycle.
This makes night and dawn the best time of day to search for people, pets or evidence with a dog.
If your dog is having a hard time working scent either in training or a real incident then try the same plan of action later in the day when dusk falls. Rest in the heat of the day from 10 am to 4 pm.
I always train and work at night or the coolest part of the day to get the best scents for the dog to follow.
Go out in the early morning dawn and smell, then think of how fresh the air smells and all the wonderful scents we humans can smell then multiple that to what a dog would smell and you can really tell the difference.
Try the same smell test in the afternoon and you will know the difference.
Think of the dry dust kicking up under your feet as you walk, and how that would affect a nose so close to the ground.
Give plenty of water to any dog working in the heat because the nose will dry out also making working scents more difficult..
I'll write more on how watering your dog affects the scenting abilities in another post. Until then be careful in the heat! and Good Luck!
|Bloodhound Daisy photo by A.Higgins
Here's a big thumbs up and pat on the back for all the working dogs and handlers enduring the heatwaves in many parts of the world to aid in the recovery of harmful items, drugs and missing persons or pets.
|photos by A.Higgins- all rights reserved
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