At SARDA England, we train our dogs as”Air scenting” dogs.
Every minute, you loose around 40,000 little pieces of skin (called rafts) into the air, and onto the surfaces around you. These composition of these skin rafts are unique to each person, even those from identical twins are different! Some of these rafts are lighter than air can get caught in the wind and are blown about.
Dogs noses have 300 million receptors in those nose, compared to around 6 million for us, and the area of their brains set up to process smells is, proportionally, 40 times larger than ours.
Due to their superior sense of smell, dogs can pick up the scent from these rafts from ¼ of a mile away, or more from a person, and with the right training, can guide their handler back to the source of the smell. As dogs don’t rely on their sight, it doesn’t matter if it’s night time, the dog can search just as well as if it were a clear day.
Weather conditions and local geography can affect how the scent spreads out from a person, and it is the skills of the handler in getting his or her dog into the best position to pick up any scent that can make the difference between finding a missing person, and not.
At SARDA we train both the dogs and handlers on how best to find a scent, and what do do once it’s been found!
There are no substantial studies on the success of dogs searching via. an air scent, but from our experience, during assessments, in excess of 96% of the dogs bodies that the dogs look for are found, so we’re confident that in a real emergency, our dogs will make a find if the person is in their search area!