Dogs have been trained to detect everything from the “aura” that precedes a person about to have a seizure to subtle odors that emitted by people with cancerous tumors. There are also drug-detection dogs that are able to smell illicit substances and other odors in all kinds of substances.
So if you're wondering whether dogs can smell the nicotine in juuls, the answer is an unwavering yes. Your pup's sense of smell can be 1,000 times more powerful than a human's.
While dogs certainly can pick up on the scent of nicotine, most drug-detection dogs are not trained to detect non-illicit drugs like nicotine or tobacco. Read on to find out more!
Signs Dogs Can Smell a Juul
Dogs are able to detect a wide variety of substances related to the illegal sale and distribution of drugs. One study of a police dog training program in Texas reported that dogs have the ability to identify drug-tainted currency, as well as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and peyote.
Some dogs are trained to alert their handler with barking, while others are not. Common "alerts" are: touching their noses to the area where the drugs are hidden, sitting in front of the location and staying there until their handler comes by, or digging/pawing at the location of the scent.
However, drug-detection dogs are taught to smell and locate various narcotics and illegal drugs. Because tobacco and nicotine are not illegal substances, it is unlikely that your average drug-detection dog will alert their handler over a scent coming from a juul.
Even if your dog isn't a drug-detection dog, our pups are extremely observant creatures and gather a lot of information based on human behavior, mood, posture, and emotions. Dogs are able to detect acute, tiny changes in physiology because every change in our bodies gives off a particular odor. These scents, although impossible for us to smell, are easily picked up by our pups.
For instance, when humans consume alcohol or marijuana, humans may exhibit behavioral changes. On top of the smell of alcohol on your breath or the potent smell of marijuana, it is highly likely your pup notices the different behavior. Even further, researchers note that dogs can smell the high blood pressure in an individual that has used methamphetamines! If that's not a superpower, then we don't know what is.
The Science Behind Dogs Smelling Juuls
The dog's incredible sense of smell has been the subject of much scientific research, so we now have a bit more information about why canines are so much better at detecting drugs using just their noses than us humans are. Some breeds are notorious for their sniffing abilities, such as Bloodhounds or German Shepards.
Once the air enters the nostril, it encounters a fold of tissue that diverts the air along two separate channels — one is used for breathing and the other route is used to analyze scent. And then comes the part where our canine companions really put us in the shade. A dog has about 220 million receptors in its nose, while us humans have about 5 million. Dogs also have a specialized organ called the vomeronasal organ that works to enhance their sense of smell.
To top it off, the part of a dog's brain responsible for analyzing smells is, proportionally, 40 times greater than our own, all of which ensures that dogs have an acute sense of smell that is anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times better than ours.
Training Your Dog to Smell Substances
K9 dogs are trained to detect illicit substances rather than nicotine or "e-juice" from juuls and other e-cigarettes. Since nicotine is a legal substance, police and other law enforcement agencies have no reason to train dogs to detect nicotine. However, there are some drugs that dogs are commonly taught to detect, including:
According to experts in the field, dog trainers are able to teach dogs to smell and locate the various narcotics and illegal drugs listed above. Dogs are first taught basic commands using positive reinforcement, such as rewards like treats or toys. A handler than teaches the dog to sit, walk, dig, bark, and find on-command.
Once the pup learns these commands, they are exposed to "pseudonarcotics" that contain smells similar to the controlled substance being detected. The dogs are taught to differentiate the smells and alert a handler to the location by barking or making other physical signals with their bodies. The dog's "alert" simply depends on the handler and his or her preferred method of detection.
Police agencies and associations have standards that these sniffer-dogs must meet in order to be certified. Drugs will be hidden in difficult locations, such as vehicles, containers, luggage or buildings, and the pup must properly identify the smell and alert the handler. The dog is scored on the results, and either passed or failed for certification as a drug-detection dog.
More commonly today, there are also private organizations you can reach out to in order to help train your dog. Although the dogs are not certified through the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association, pups still go through the same vigorous training processes that dogs at the Narcotic Detector Dog Association must go through. If you are interested in training your dog for scent detection, reach out to your local private organization for details.
Written by Olivia Gerth
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 05/22/2018, edited: 04/06/2020