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Senses

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4 min read

|

Can Dogs Smell Testosterone?

Senses

|

4 min read

|

Can Dogs Smell Testosterone?

Introduction

Dogs can detect the smallest of changes in our bodies. They can sniff out disease, understand changes in our brain waves, and even detect cancer. Because of dogs' amazing, acute sense of smell, they're able to detect both rises, drops, and other changes in our hormone levels, tell the difference between male and female hormones, and yes, sniff out the differences between estrogen and testosterone. 

Because it's vital for dogs to understand the world around them, and because they do that through their sense of smell, they're certainly able to smell our hormones - testosterone levels included. 

Are you curious how to tell if your dog is sniffing out testosterone levels in men? Do you want a better understanding of how dogs are able to sniff out testosterone in the first place? Read on! 

can-dogs-smell-testosterone

Signs Your Dog Can Smell Changes in Testosterone

Because your dog is able to smell and detect rising and changing levels of testosterone, they're going to have natural reactions to these hormonal changes. Typically, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues and promotes secondary sexual characteristics. Because of this, dogs will react to it in certain ways. 

Male dogs, who also harbor quite a bit of testosterone, will likely view the rise in human testosterone as a competition for the alpha male status. This could cause your male dog to act aggressively, bare their teeth, howl, bark, snap, or bite in order to maintain dominance. 

Additionally, the male dog in the house might prevent the human male (with the increased levels of testosterone) from getting too close to female humans or dogs in the household. 

That being said, female dogs will likely have a different reaction to the increase in testosterone. A female dog might gravitate toward the man with rising testosterone as instincts would indicate that they are the alpha in the home. The female might also try to prevent human females from getting close to the human males, acting out with barking, biting, howling, or nipping.

Body Language

If you suspect you dog is detecting a change in testosterone levels, he or she might:

  • Growling
  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Guarding
  • Howling
  • Stalking
  • Tail Tucking

Other Signs

There are other signs to look out for, too, like:

  • Female Dogs Gravitating Toward The Man With The High Levels Of Testosterone
  • Male Dogs Fighting For Alpha Male Status
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Extra Attention On The Person With Hormone Changes

The History of Using Dogs to Sniff Out Anabolic Steroids

can-dogs-smell-testosterone

Because of dogs' amazing noses and their acute sense of smell, they've been employed over the years to help government officials seek out weapons, bombs, drugs, and more. But because dogs' noses are so in tune with sniffing out specific scents, they've even been trained to detect anabolic steroids, which contain testosterone. 

One of the best examples of this is the Connecticut State Police K-9 Unit, which has been training their dogs since 2009 to detect steroids. They do this by training their dogs to sniff out a scent they're most familiar with - testosterone. Although steroids are composed of dozens of different substances ranging from anavar to winstrol, they're able to detect the specific testosterone scent and find anabolic steroids.

The Science of Dogs Smelling Testosterone

can-dogs-smell-testosterone

Inside your nose, you have about 6 million smell receptors. It sounds like a lot, right? Well, it's not when you consider that dogs have about 300 million such receptors in their noses. That being said, your dog can smell a lot more acutely than you can. Because of this, dogs can detect scents from certain hormones. 

When we're fearful, anxious, sad, or when our bodies are producing specific hormones (like estrogen or testosterone), our bodies release chemicals along with those hormones, and that's what your dog is able to smell. Dogs are also just highly sensitive to human hormones in association with their behavior. 

According to Dr. Joanne Sillince, managing director of Pets Australia, there's a general belief in the veterinary community that dogs are able to detect, at a subconscious level, changes in human hormones not just based on their ability to smell the changes. 

Training Your Dog to Detect Steroids Based on Testosterone

can-dogs-smell-testosterone

First of all, if you're looking to train your dog to become any kind of drug-sniffing agent, it's important that you're working with a professional trainer. Not only are they certified and able to help your pup become the best drug-sniffer they can be, they'll also have access to substances and strains necessary for your dog's training that you might not be able to legally get your hands on. 

That being said, the training portion of this is simple and formulaic. Drug-sniffing dogs typically start their training by learning that playing with a certain toy counts as a reward or positive feedback. Once your dog understands this concept, you can start training. Begin associating your dog's favorite toy with the particular smell you want your dog to track down. Make sure the smell is so associated with the toy that the two almost get confused. 

Next, hide the toy and the smell somewhere and train your pup to give you a signal when they locate it. Reward them with playtime with their toy. Gradually make the hiding spots harder, and eventually, remove the toy, just hiding the scent alone. When your dog is able to do this consistently without the toy, they've been trained to detect the scent!

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Written by a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/10/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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