Is it possible to fool a drug sniffer dog?

Is it possible to fool a drug sniffer dog?

If you find yourself in the situation where you’d need to hide your stash from the noses of trained drug sniffer dogs, relying on your luck wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do if you want to stay out of trouble. But are there ways to fool a trained drug sniffer dog?

We all know that dogs have very fine noses. They are cute, usually wet and very, very good. Their ability to detect even the faintest scents has made the man’s best friend a helpful companion for things like hunting, tracking criminals, finding stolen goods or missing persons.

Indeed, the intense sense of smell of dogs is so very well developed that they can detect the scent of a person and then trace their movements even weeks after they have been around.

This, of course, has been the reason that dogs are employed by the police to assist in their search for drugs, explosives, money and other contraband. The four-legged sniffer experts are present at practically every airport and customs.

Fooling them isn’t exactly easy but it can be done: Yes, dogs do have an extraordinary sense of smell but they also have their limits.


Even the most-well trained sniffer dog will need to rely on some simple physics to make use of their olfactory skills. Odours will have to be able to permeate out or through a material so that they can be detected.

Dogs are amazing, but can't smell the inside of any container through any material. This is a myth.

In a perfectly sealed enclosure that is made from a 100% non-porous material where really nothing would get out, scent as well wouldn't escape. This means that even a dog wouldn’t really have anything to detect.

Common plastic containers and plastic bags all allow odours to permeate out. Maybe not right away, but in time all do. You may not smell your stash tightly wrapped in some baggie, but there are microscopic pores in plastic, which will always allow the smell to get through. As a dog is so much better than you in detecting a smell, he will smell it.

The longer your “material” is in the bag, the more obvious will the “odour cone” on the outside of the bag be for a dog. In other words; time also plays a role if you want to minimize the odds of detection.

Unlike plastic, there are other materials that don’t let anything go through.

Lead for instance would be a good material. Lead is 100% impermeable and doesn’t allow any scent to escape. You would need to find a way to seal a container made out of lead perfectly of course.

Another problem with a lead container would be that it would probably raise suspicion when the guys working the x-ray machines at the airport find it in your luggage. These people are not stupid and know what things to look for.

Other materials that can be good to use would be glass or foil.


You shouldn’t waste time pondering about how to mask your suspicious smelling stuff with other smells. This simply won’t work with sniffing dogs.

Sniffing dogs don’t smell like we do. When we humans smell, we are taking in a blend of scents and odours, which we will smell as something “new” altogether.

Think about a hearty stew that’s cooking on the stove. We smell the smell of the stew, rather than the individual food items like the carrots, the meat and the potatoes.

This is where many drug smugglers fail. They try to conceal their stuff in between other odour-intensive things, like foods or spices, but a dog can detect all the individual things out of a plethora of other smells and will be easily able to pick out the particular smell he is looking for.



Obviously, no one can guarantee you that you will be able to fool a sniffer dog but you can decrease the chances of detection to some extent.

Cold temperatures, for instance, slow down the rate of how fast odour could permeate through a particular material. So a stash, frozen and then tightly wrapped in foil and in a well-sealing glass container is likely your best bet.

You could take things a step further by freezing this inside a big block of ice again, but this might be a little bit harder to explain if it would be found.

It is also good to know that even the slightest traces of scents outside the container will accumulate over time, so you can’t allow much time to pass once you packed your stuff. Travel fast!

Dogs have a great sense of smell, but their range is actually quite limited. Considering that dogs are very low to ground in most cases, you might consider hiding whatever it is you don’t want the dog to smell as high up as possible.

But hey, if you are really smart, you don’t take any risk at all. Trying to bring drugs on an airplane or through customs is definitely a risky and rather foolish thing to do which you should probably just avoid in general.