How Long Does Scent Last?
By Karin TarQwyn- Private Investigator
and K9 Handler specializing in missing pets since 2005
This is a highly controversial and much discussed subject with many purported experts weighing in on what they know
or feel. After 22 years handling scent specific scent dogs, this is what I have learned.
There is only
one answer to the question "How Long Does Scent Last?
The Answer is: Viable Scent is different from dog to dog.
As you search for a reputable K9 handler with trained dogs, you may
hear many different opinions on the viability and a dog's ability to detect scent. There will be purported experts that will
spout a 14-day limit while others will swear scent is gone in five days. There are other experts that contend scent lasts
for years. In truth they are all right and they are all wrong because viable scent is different from dog to dog. Some dogs
will be able to detect and follow scent months after the original trail was laid while other dogs may not be able to detect
the scent trail after 24 hours. Much of the confusion about scent comes from the way in which handlers train their dogs. If
they believe that scent somehow magically disappears on the 15th day, then they will train this way and their dogs will only
be exposed to aged trails less than that. Always inquire as to the philosophy of the K9 handler before hiring anyone so you
will know what to expect.
So... keep in mind it is
more about training and exposing scent dogs to older scent and that there is no exacting time table by which scent disappears.
After two decades working scent detection dogs and training
over 110 dogs in this work, I know this to be the truth.