Dogs can smell certain types of cancer, bedbugs and termites, migraines, scat and whale poop, diabetes, DVDs, ovulation, bombs and weapons, drugs, stress, cadavers, high blood pressure, electricity, narcolepsy, seizures and low blood sugar, and bacteria. Add to the list, oil.
“Duke,” a Labrador Retriever can find pipeline leaks. His chum, “George,” a lab cross, specializes in drugs and explosives. “Toby,” a Springer Spaniel, is retired (from work, not from being a Springer Spaniel). They all live with Ron Mistafa who runs Detector Dog Services International, a Calgary-based outfit that helps clients in the oil and gas sector to search out pipeline leaks, drugs and explosives. It’s tag line: “The Nose Knows: Despite the advancement of sophisticated systems and methodologies, we have yet to develop anything that can consistently match the capabilities of a well-trained dog.” You can read more about this here because we also want to mention that dogs can sniff out minerals and rocks. In fact, the Finnish government financed a program that taught dogs to detect valuable sulphide-containing rocks. When the rocks break apart, they release a smell akin to rotting eggs, easily tracked by dogs. So easily that during one hunt, a dog found a deposit of “great economic significance.” You might be interested in this video (though things don’t get interesting until the 1:52 mark):
Evidently, there is history to using dogs to detect ores dating back to the 60s and 70s when Sweden, Russia and Finland lead the way in the use of ore dogs; Geologist, Peter Bergman, created OreDog to help transform mine location with ore dogs such as his own German Shepherd Dog seen in the photo below. Bergman’s dog can sense 20 – 30 different types of ore as much as 12m under the ground.
Bergman points out that he’s used an Australian working Koolie and Malinois, and though most dogs come from the police dog academy, they don’t have to be the same breeds as police or military dogs – and, in fact, Poodles are actually very good scent dogs. Who knew?