Search dog Fern sense of smell gets put to the test when she is tasked to find a canister filled with pork meat. That would be simple for most dogs, but she has to find it in the middle of a lake, under 7 meters (23 feet) of water and mud!
Joined by her handler, Neil, this video demonstrates how accurate the nose of a dog can be.
Dogs like Fern are trained this way so that they can find bodies of people who have drowned. Cadaver dogs have highly specialized training that enables them to pinpoint the scent of human remains under 30 meters (98 feet) of water! Some dogs are able to sniff out a shard of a bone or a drop of blood.
It is illegal to possess human remains in the UK, which is why trainers in the country use pig. However, trainers in North America, like Kim Cooper of the Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue Dog Association, are able to train cadaver dogs with human bones (which can be ordered off the Internet) and placenta, donated by mothers who have just given birth.
And researchers like Lisa Lit (of University of California, Davis) and Mary Cablk (of Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada) have done studies that have helped training organizations adopt more scientific approaches for training the dogs and for certification, according to CBC News.
Regardless of how they are trained, it’s truly amazing what a dog like Fern can do!