Peanut-Sniffing Poodles & Cash-Crazy Cockers

A nosy dog can catch criminals and help kids.
By Julia Kamysz Lane, June 2009

When my dogs sniff at a tree or dirt patch with special enthusiasm, I wonder what kind of information they’re getting. Their amazing noses allow them to “see” a world that’s practically foreign to us humans.

Over the years, smart people have found ways to harness that nose power to help detect drugs, cancer and illegal DVDs. Now they’re training Cocker Spaniels to sniff out cash-carrying criminals and Poodles to detect peanuts to help kids with life-threatening allergic reactions.

When you take your dog for a walk, is it more like going for a sniff? Does s/he put her nose to the ground or prefer air scenting? What's the strangest thing your dog's nose has discovered?

Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.