Can Dogs Smell Guns

Can Dogs Smell Guns?

There is a rise in interest in K9 protection for schools. It’s no surprise that school systems are looking for ways to protect children and teachers on campus. With the recent violent actions in all grade levels, parents and faculty are searching for better ways to protect our schools. The use of K9 security is not new, but for school systems and tender hearts on campus, its popularity is growing. So, can dogs smell guns?  

You can train dogs to find the odors of humans, and human remains, fire accelerants, drugs, and explosives, including gunpowder. If the gun is loaded, it will contain gunpowder, and the dog can detect that. The truth is, dogs are biologically fascinating beings, as they have an olfactory system that makes their noses thousands of times more sensitive to scents than ours. A firearm is a combination of odors. These odors are the same for an unfired pistol or one recently fired. The K9 learns to associate any combination or concentration of these odors as a target odor for a handgun. The dog is not just looking for the smell of gunshot residue but of oils, solvents, metal, rubber, or wood odors together. 

Most importantly, dogs detect all sorts of scents for scenarios and situations when trained. The presence of a dog on a school campus is always received well. Children gravitate to animals, and that relationship makes for less visual stress of seeing armed guards on campus.  

But does cleaning the gun and trying to mask the firearm’s odor or scent signature a waste of time? As stated previously, you can’t clean it enough to become undetectable. For example, remember this analogy. You walk into the kitchen, and Momma has a pot of stew cooking on the stove. You take a smell and say, “Ahhh, Stew!” However, the dog beside you smells the stew and thinks of beef, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, salt, pepper, etc. The K9 smells every individual odor within the stew. We, at best, can only smell the stew. 

To sum it up, dogs can smell guns – a combination of odors. SherGroup has been working with specially trained K9s in Florida to provide that next level of security of K9s for our schools for years. Often, it’s federal funding that needs to be in place and provided for this to happen in our school districts. The SherGroup is available to talk with PTA leaders and district officials on ways to get a program like this going. Reach out to SherGroup online and fill out the inquiry form to begin that discussion. You can also reach us by Email or by phone at 407-545-7337.