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With a sense of smell hundreds of times stronger than man, dogs are perfect for sniffing out treasure. Gold is no exception. Except gold in its raw form really has no scent. At least not one we humans can decipher. However, gold sits in the ground and upon the ground in bodies of water surrounded by the smells of various metals, sulfides, and different types of rock. If you could train your dog to recognize those smells, could he lead you to gold? If you are one who pans for gold or searches for rocks that are filled with veins of gold, take your dog with you and see if he can find gold as well. Gold mining is a lucrative business that many companies around the world cash in on. Gold mining companies typically take a large area and suck the ground of everything they possibly can. Individual gold hunters will go to areas where small deposits might be found. This is where you and your dog may find your own little treasure.
Teaching your dog to mine for gold will be pretty advanced and he’ll need to have obedience commands already under his belt. Your dog will need to know to ‘come’ and to ‘heel’ along with the basic commands. He should be able to be free roaming off-leash and stay obediently by your side. At first, you will be searching for gold alongside your dog, and over time, as your dog gets used to the scents and smells around gold deposits, he may go off on his own and notify you when he has found his own golden treasure. Teaching him what gold is and what kind of area he will find it in, including water, will be your first steps. You can teach puppies and adult dogs to find gold, however, you are going to want a dog who has his nose to the ground and is interested in exploring the world around him, and following his senses.
To start looking for gold with your dog you are going to need to know where to go in your local area. You will also need gold panning materials, which for some can be as simple as a metal bowl or pan. A digging spade might also be useful. You should also take lots of treats with you. And, of course, to teach your dog what the surrounding area smells like, find rocks your dog can fit in his mouth that have the orange sulfide along the outside so he can learn what a typical quartz sulfide rock smells like.
The Panning Method
Take your dog panning with you and get excited about the activity together.
Move the water around and show enthusiasm to your dog.
Use the word ‘gold’ a lot while panning to let your dog know you are looking for something.
Dig around and encourage your dog to dig with you.
If you happen to find gold, use the word ‘gold,’ and show your dog what it looks like. Gold doesn’t have a particular scent, but the ground and rock surrounding gold particles do. Let your dog sniff the pieces and the surrounding area.
Tell your dog to find gold too. With his nose, he should be able to sniff the sulfur surrounding gold or the sulfide in the rocks often found near gold.
Be sure to reward your dog as he is learning and also certainly when he finds gold.
The Underwater Find Method
While panning, have your dog splash alongside you.
Give your dog some large rocks with orange sulfide visible and let your dog sniff.
Use the ‘find’ command and ask your dog to find the same type of rock you have shown him.
Throw the rock into the water and say, “find.”
Your dog can smell underwater - yep, and searching for gold by smell is much more fun than other smells they can find underwater. If you practice enough with your dog, he should be able to bring up other rocks with that same sulfide scent.
With your dog’s help, you can dig and pan in areas where your dog finds those rocks, in hopes of finding gold.
The Ore Rock Method
Sulfide ore rock
Show your dog an ore or rock with visible sulfide.
Let him sniff and explore the rock.
Give the rock a name your dog will remember such as ‘gold.’
Toss the rock with your dog and teach him to fetch it.
Play ‘find the gold’ with your dog and the rock.
The scent of that sulfide quartz rock will be similar to rocks he will need to search out when looking for gold.
Take your dog searching for gold using the command and the scent of his special rock.
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 12/06/2017, edited: 01/08/2021