Factors Influencing Odor Sensitivity in the Dog
PENNSYLVANIA UNIV PHILADELPHIA MONELL CHEMICAL SENSES CENTER
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The development of methods for investigating odor preference in dogs and the relation of preference to performance in learning an odor detection task is described. Four German shepherds were given access to two water bowls or troughs, one associated with a test odorant, the other with a blank. Consistent preferences were observed when additional criteria of response included the number of entries made into each station and the amount of time spent at each station. The apparatus and technique for training dogs to avoid odors provides an effective method for grouping dogs according to their ability to learn an odor detection task. This series of studies suggests that in certain cases it may be possible to predict performance on the task detection task from simple measures of preference behavior. A programmed apparatus for obtaining accurate quanitative inforamtion on the dogs sensitivity to odors is also described. It consists of a 3-choice odorairair automated discrimination box supplied by a 6 stage air-dilution olfactometer contained in a controlled environment chamber. Preliminary evidence suggest that the sensitivity of the dog for alpha-ionone is at least 1,000 - 10,000 times greater than that of untrained human subjects tested in the same apparatus.
- Anatomy and Physiology