Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 04/14/2007 - 15:20.


This shiba inu can smell each of your footstep locations where your shoe sole touched down on the concrete sidewalk - HOURS AFTER YOU HAVE PASSED BY.  I have watched Tucker smell precisely the shoe step locations several hours after a person has passed on the concrete.  I made a point of looking right where the person’s shoes touched the concrete, and two hours later when I brought the dog by, the dog’s nose went step to step across the pavement – exactly in cadence to where the persons shoes touched.

Almost all of Tucker’s entire experience on walks consists of smelling – smelling by stuffing his head down into the leaves and snow, smelling by putting his nose up in the air.  It was clear to me that Tucker was registering perhaps more data experience through his nose than I was through my eyes, ears, AND nose.  And Tucker, on the next walk, remembered each of the prior olfactory locations.  

Now I knew that dogs could smell underground land mines, even if the mines where hermetically sealed inside of de-scented plastic containers.  And we know dogs can pick up the scent – long after it is laid down – in the woods of animals and humans.  Those talents are really amazing

Then  I noticed that Tucker was particularly interested in one part on my forearm where I had a small skin irritation.  Tucker licked my skin there as if he knew something was not right about that area.  In a few days the skin healed up and Tucker quit being concerned. 

That experience with my skin, and my seeing Tucker run rapidly along on his walks with his nose just a fraction of an inch off the ground, made me begin to think a little further out of the box.

Could dogs smell diseases?  Well, I wasn’t the first one to ask this question.  In fact dogs can smell diseases.  This study confirmed that dogs can smell - non-invasively -  breast and lung cancers.  Another site, Doctor or Dog in the house, suggests dogs can do much more medically for humans, being able to detect epileptic seizures, low blood sugar and heart attacks.  Dogs have 220million sensors in their noses while humans have only 2% of that number.

And we humans haven’t even scratched the surface of the wonders of nature.  Gambian rats and Bees can also do a phenominal olfactory job of detection. 

We humans know and understand so little about our surroundings. While we try to learn, let's make sure we continue to clear cut what's left of our virgin forests.

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Dogs also smell our emotions

Tucker is very cool. I love all dogs - they are more perceptive than just having a good sense of smell... they know when we are happy or sad and they share in our happiness and try to make us happier when we are sad. Yet we humans have the expression for treating people wrong as treating them like dogs. I really don't like the idea of a world where dogs are imprisoned in labs smelling out nasty human diseases so I would just assume humans think they are smarter than dogs and let dogs be free, or kill them in less inhuman ways than as our slaves.

Disrupt IT

Japanese study found dogs smell cancer

This Japanese study found dogs can identify many types of cancers by smell.  I found the article on NPR's Health blog,   where the study is synopsized.    Recently, I also heard a BBC report on homing pigeons which concluded that the pigeons find their way by smell through their right nostil.

I think there may be another animal sense - not smell, but a sense yet to be defined - which we are mistaking for smell.