Texas Tech University

Canine Olfaction Lab

Research

What does the dog's nose know? What do we know about scent detection dogs? Although millions of pet dogs live in our homes, we have very little understanding of perhaps one of the most important components of their world, smell.

What is it like to be a dog? 

dog, smell, olfaction, research, scent, detection

Unfortunately, the science of canine olfactory perception and scent detection dogs is not yet very clear. Despite detection dog training being shaped over hundreds of years, the scientific endeavor to understand the capabilities and capacity of the dog's nose and sense of smell is still nascent. The primary aim of our lab is to change that. We are investigating a range of questions on the dog's sense of smell, such as:

  • What concentrations of odors can dogs detect?
  • How do dogs perceive odors?
  • How do dogs perceive odor mixtures?
  • What are the optimal training methods for scent detection dogs?

Our lab employs a variety of methods to address our questions. We train dogs on search tasks and train them to use automated olfactometers that give us more precise control over the odors. All of our games are fun for the dogs and an opportunity to earn lots of treats!

If you are interested in learning more, check out our publications page. If you are interested in graduate school opportunities,  email me an inquiry. For those of you in the Lubbock community you can volunteer your dog or yourself!

Animal & Food Sciences