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Thursday, August 1, 2019

How Dogs Tell the Difference Between You and Another Person or Object

Tracking and Scent Discrimination

This article explains how your family dog can tell the difference between you and another person or object. This information applies to Family Disaster Dogs, Tracking Dogs and Trailing Dogs as well as any dog who is using its nose to find an object, person or pet.

Scent discrimination can be a complicated and complex subject.

When I was first learning Bloodhound handling and training with my dog Sue, our SAR dog mentor and instructor, Lt. Ezra Roberts explained the basics of scent discrimination to me in what I continue to believe is the easiest way possible.


the author and bloodhound Sue


I smile in remembrance of Ezra as I write this..I couldn't of asked for a better mentor.

He said, " When a Bloodhound smells a chocolate cake they smell every ingredient of the cake. The flour, sugar, eggs and coco while other dogs smell only the chocolate cake. "

This is the difference between a dog trained to scent discriminate. They smell one scent out of many many scents.



Dogs that are not trained to scent discriminate will search for only one scent, such as, live human scent but not each individual person within that human scent. They will find any human scent and all human scent in a certain search area by air scenting, tracking and  grid working. They will find every person or object's scent they are trained to find, such as bombs, drugs, humans live and remains. They are trained using only one scent article or smell.

Other dogs are trained to find many different scents or a scent they are given by the handler. These dogs are scent discriminating when they find a drug or object the handler asked them to find.

Service dogs who are trained to get the newspaper, slippers and dropped items of their owners are scent and sight discriminating. They know your slippers from another person's slippers.

Bloodhounds are different in that they process the ability to scent discriminate naturally. When a Bloodhound is given a scent article they start looking for that scent without much training at all. The handler gets most of the training and not the dog.

We don't train Bloodhounds they train us. Family dogs of all ages act naturally like the Bloodhounds when they stay close to their owners, follow the owner around the house or bond with a special family member.

Most dogs want to follow a person leaving their company, especially when the owner or a member of the family leave a dog behind a closed door or fence. If allowed to go the dog will do its best to find/follow the person they love.

These dogs are choosing to discriminate. All dogs can discriminate and they do naturally.

It is up to us humans to take advantage of this natural ability in the dog and teach our dogs what we wish them to find or who.

Here is my dog finding my daughter. This is the first time I asked the dog to find this person. I have only asked the dog to look for another person 3 times. She is not a trained tracking dog but I know she will find people she knows and wants to be near.

We had a chance to video tape this first time for everyone on the Family Disaster Dog site to watch and see how easy it is to teach your dog to find a family member or friend. Read the Scent Article page for more info about to use Scent Articles that tell your dog who to look for.

Watch this video






Click to Learn how-to Evacuate with your Dogs Help

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
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Welcome UK and Worldwide Visitors

Welcome UK and worldwide visitors and friends to Family Disaster Dogs online! Although I'm an American author and dog professional the worldwide web has given me the opportunity to connect with some wonderful folks who have contributed pictures for my books. The "Start Mantrailing" book features RRI K9 North Scotland trained Search and Rescue Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates training in the book, plus American dogs using my training methods. A portion of sales of the Start Mantrailing book or copies were donated to RRI North Scotland. The children's picture book "My Puppy Can Find Me" has my daughter and bloodhound as illustrations by UK cartoonist Scotty King. You can find the books on Amazon UK or use the contact page to order from me. When you click the links will take you to your own county pages of this site.

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