The Shiba Inu’s Incredible Sense of Smell

According to the U.S. Department of State, dogs are used by the agency to sniff out explosives. In fact, along with their handlers, that is their only mission. One of the dogs that has been used for the task is a Shiba Inu named Ginger. Shiba Inus are good at this type of work because of their in-built desire to hunt. Indeed, the canine sense of smell is incredible, as dogs are used to detect drugs, explosives, and diseases.

An Amazing Sense of Smell

A dog’s nose is at least 100,000 times more sensitive than a human’s, thereby giving a Shiba Inu and other dogs a superpower trait. Also, a dog has more olfactory receptors than a human and can exhale without disturbing even the faintest scent. Moreover, the part of a dog’s brain that processes smells is seven times larger than the same area in the human brain. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Shiba Inu was used to hunt and forage for food in Japan in ancient times.

The Shiba and other dogs can also be used to detect accelerants, such as gasoline, in arson investigations. Scientists still have not found an artificial way to detect scents like a dog’s nose, which can sniff out an odor that is one-billionth of a teaspoon in size. That is why dogs are used for tracing human remains or for detecting disease.

For example, Shibas and other dogs can be used to detect a variety of cancers, including melanoma, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. They can also be used to sniff out Parkinson’s disease and malaria. Currently, studies are under way to see if dogs can be used to detect the corona virus.

Unfortunately, training a dog to detect bio substances, explosives, or drugs can cost as much as $25,000 per dog. Plus, there is more of a demand than a supply in military and law enforcement venues.

Truffle Hunting

Dogs can also be trained to hunt truffles. To train a Shiba or any dog for this task, it costs about $5,000. Therefore, you can teach your Shiba to hunt truffles and make a nice side income doing the work. Although pigs have also been used to hunt the mushroom-like food, dogs are a better choice..

While the Lagotta Romagnolo breed is often used for truffle hunting, many dogs, including the Shiba, can take on the work. Therefore, any dog with an in-built predatory nature who likes to dig can be used for hunting truffles. All dogs have superior sniffers. However, some canines do not have the traits needed for truffle searching. For example, dogs that usually herd sheet or cattle normally do not have the propensity to use their noses to search out truffles.

Truffles grow off the roots of trees beneath the ground, so a dog has to have an excellent sense of smell and a need to explore or investigate. Truffle hunters like using a dog over a pig, as a dog is easier to train, as it has already been bred to be a companion.

Hogs do not have this distinction. Because pigs tend to eat the truffles they find, they are not as reliable as a canine. In addition, truffle hunting reaps big money. Therefore, it is easier to keep what you are doing discreet if you hunt with a dog. Most people will know what you are up to if you use a pig to hunt truffles.


Hunting for Explosives

With respect to tracking explosives, the Shiba Inu, as noted, proves to be a superior breed to use for this purpose. Explosives can be hard to track, as a homemade explosives can be made with several mixtures. However, the two main ingredients are an oxidizer and a fuel.

While a fuel can be anything that can combust, it may also be a combination of chemicals. This can throw a dog off the odor they are trained to detect. The oxidizer is a substance that the fuel needs to burn. Common oxidizing agents include halogens, hydrogen peroxide, and oxygen. To direct a dog to find an explosive, it is either trained to detect the oxidizer in the device or trained to ignore the mixtures that do not include the substance.

When dog trainers train dogs for the work, they sometimes have the dog stick their heads in a device that checks what smells a dog can detect. An olfactometer makes it possible for scientists to see if a dog can be useful in detecting scents that have been diluted with other mixtures. The same device is often used by market researchers to test consumer reactions to the scents of products, and serves as an electronic nose in this respect.

Sniffing Out Items at the Airport

Dogs can also use their noses to sniff out items at airports – not just drugs, such as opium, heroin, cocaine, or marijuana. In addition, dogs are used for detecting explosives, concealed firearms, illegal animal-based items, and even large sums of cash. Airport security has also used dogs to sniff out items that have been lost by passengers, such as a child’s favorite toy or an adult’s electronic or cell phone.

What Do You Think?

Do you think your Shiba could be trained to find explosives or search for truffles? All dogs have a great sense of smell. However, a dog needs to possess other traits as well, including a naturally curious nature, when he is trained for detection work.