How do dogs track criminals? Here’s What to Expect

How Do Police Dogs Track Scents?

A police dog’s impressive scent tracking ability all comes down to the power of their nose. A dog’s nose has 300 million olfactory receptors, where the human nose only has 6 million. Not only do they have significantly more receptors for smell within the nose, but the portion of their brain devoted to smell is also nearly 40 times as large as ours. Their brain was truly set up for smelling!

With having so many scent tracking abilities within their genetic makeup, we are able to train dogs in searching for specific smells. Police dogs are able to differentiate between certain types of smells due to the power of their nose, making them the perfect scent trackers in multiple areas of searching.

Back to Animals Police dogs are dogs that help the police to solve crimes. They have become a major part of law enforcement in the past several years. Police dogs have saved many lives with their unique skills and bravery. They are loyal, watchful, and protective of their police officer counterparts and are often deemed an important and irreplaceable part of many police departments.

Why does my dog stare at me so much?

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

While we can’t ask dogs to read an eye chart or pick out colors, behavioral tests suggest that dogs see in shades of yellow and blue and lack the ability to see the range of colors from green to red. In other words, dogs see the colors of the world as basically yellow, blue, and gray.

How do Police K9 Tracks Work?

I ask Julie Starbuck, from Peace River K9 Search and Rescue, if she remembers a time that left her feeling especially proud of Caliber, her German Shepherd Dog.

“The first one that comes to mind is the time we were called to work a burned building. It had been burned the night before, and they were pretty confident somebody had died in there,” she immediately recalls. “The firefighters had been out there for 12, 13 hours and hadn’t been able to locate the victim. We brought Caliber in, and it was the first time that she had worked a complete burned building, and, within about five minutes, she found the lady.”

“I was incredibly proud of her because she did her job in a tough environment, with lots of debris and rubble and everything else, and she knew she did a good job,” Starbuck says with a smile. “She took her toy and went to every single firefighter that was there and made them play tug with her.”

Caliber’s abilities illustrate the vital role the exceptional scenting skills of dogs play in supporting the work of law enforcement agencies and other emergency services—whether that’s as part of a police handling team or one of the specialized, highly trained volunteer organizations.