Some trained police dogs smell fear. Not all dogs are gifted enough to do that. According to a study, in some cases, even trained police dogs failed to identify stressed-out people who carry a particular type of a gene that triggers fear, or anxiety.
The dogs did not have any trouble in identifying women and men when they were not under stress. The research may further explain why trained dogs perform well in training but not while dealing with real cases when fear is involved.
The researchers also studied whether some people’s genes stand in the way of a dog while picking up scents. They were keen to learn whether fear could alter a people’s scent.
Previous research had proved that the different types of the SLC6A4 gene are linked to stress management. They claim people with the short version of the gene fail miserably compared to those with the long version to handle stress.
The research team recruited four persons. Two males and two females. A male and female with the short version of the gene and another pair with the long version of the gene.
All the participants were given a scarf to imprint their body scent. The researchers were then moved to the lab. The participants were now given a T-shirt.
The T-shirts were then lined up for the dogs to sniff and they did a splendid job.
In the second experiment, the researchers asked the participants to do public speaking. This activity increased the stress level of the participants.
The dogs picked T-shirts of the participants having long version gene in two attempts. None of the dogs identified people with a short version of the gene.
The researchers suspect that fear could trigger a set of hormones that make some flee, others freeze and yet others fight. It seems possible that the exact hormone flood could modify a person’s scent.
It does not mean that canines are finding it hard in locating missing persons.