All dogs are known for having a sense of smell that far surpasses the olfactory abilities of humans. However, there are some dogs that are specifically bred for their scent abilities, and are famous for their tracking skills. Dogs with a particularly sensitive sense of smell are usually used for hunting, tracking, law enforcement, and as detection dogs. Labrador Retrievers are especially known for their amazing sense of smell.
A typical Labrador Retriever’s nose has about twenty-five times more olfactory receptors than humans. This means that Labradors are able to pick up even the faintest of smells, and from a considerable distance. A dog’s nose is built for superior scent, even in its physical construction. The slits beside the nostrils on your dog’s nose allow more air to pass through the nose, promoting circulation over the olfactory receptors.
Breathing normally does not stimulate a Labrador Retriever’s scent receptors as much as the act of “sniffing”. The receptors that process scents are located near the back of a Labrador’s snout, meaning that your dog has to actively sniff to promote stimulation of these receptors. This is why your Labrador seems to be constantly sniffing, and investigating objects that you would not normally associate with having an interesting scent signature. When your dog is sniffing the grass, or the sidewalk, they may be able to detect people, animals, or scents that passed by that spot over a week ago. This is because a dog can detect scents with a concentration one hundred million times lower than a human can.
Due to their superior sense of smell, Labrador Retrievers are frequently used by Law Enforcement agencies. As a detection dog, Labrador Retrievers can be trained to detect and identify different scents to assist Law Enforcement agents. A Labrador can easily recognize explosives, illegal substances, or human scent from a considerable distance. Labrador Retrievers are also used as rescue dogs, since they may be able to find tragedy victims that a human would not have the abilities to locate. As a tracking dog, Labradors can be used to help track criminals or missing persons through various terrains. Tracking abilities are also essential in hunting dogs, which makes Labrador Retrievers a very good choice to assist in hunting.
Some people claim that dogs can detect a person’s change in moods, and this is actually entirely possible. When you become happy, scared, or angry, your body chemistry changes slightly. Humans have a distinct hormonal signature depending on emotions, and a dog is able to pick up on these small changes. This means that if you are experiencing stress, your dog may become aware of this, and try to comfort you. If you are angry, your dog may be able to detect this, and may become submissive or exhibit strange behavior. This is one of the reasons why it is extremely important to try to maintain a low-stress environment around your home, since it will effect your dog’s happiness as well.