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Dogs are really good at using their noses to find things. I had a beagle that could pinpoint where someone was grilling miles away. They are smart dogs and dogs can sometimes get in trouble because of their nose.

Unless they are trained the right way. We've all seen dogs trained to search for bombs, drugs, to search for people, and even dogs that can detect health problems that someone may be experiencing.

Now a Texas Tech researcher wants to find out whether or not dogs can be trained to sniff out invasive pests and species for farmers. According to a release from Texas Tech University, Nathan Hall, an assistant professor of companion animal science in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences has received a grant to research whether support dogs can be trained to help the agricultural industry.

“This project will allow us to investigate the fundamental capability of the canine nose to identify and detect agricultural pests and diseases, which cost multi-millions of dollars in damage annually,” Hall said. “While exploring the sensitivity and resolution of the dog’s nose, we also will evaluate the capacity of already scent trained dogs in sport scent work through the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) across the U.S. as a means to support farmers with an early detection tool for agricultural diseases.”

 

Their research is being bolstered by a $475,000 grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service.

According to Hall, dogs could help the growing wine industry in Texas save money and reduce the need of pesticides if dogs could sniff out potential problems with grapes in the vineyard.

Hall believes that once trained, dogs could have an 85% success rate at sniffing out invasive pests that threaten agriculture.

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