The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 148: Hair of the Dog

Premier Date: October 6, 2010

The MythBusters originally tested mythical techniques for outsmarting a scent-tracking dog in Episode 74: Dog Myths. The following additional techniques were suggested by fans of the show and tested with the same bloodhound and trainer that were used previously.

You can trick a trained bloodhound by covering part of your trail with Red Herring.

busted

Jamie, acting as an escaped convict, was given a 5 minute head start. He dropped several cans of Red Herring (Kipper) somewhere in the middle of his trail in hopes of overwhelming the dog’s sense of smell. The bloodhound stopped momentarily to eat some of the herring, but the trainer made him continue. The dog seemed to have lost the trail so the trainer brought him back to the herring (where he knew Jamie must have been) and the dog found the trail again and soon found Jamie.

You can trick a trained bloodhound by wearing a no-scent suit.

busted

Jamie washed himself carefully and adorned a “no-scent suit” used by hunters. The dog found him easily.

You can trick a trained bloodhound by crossing deep water.

busted

Jamie waded through a river that was significantly wider and deeper than the one Adam crossed in episode 74. The dog found him without trouble.

You can trick a trained bloodhound using a lineup of multiple people.

plausible

Five volunteers left behind an unwashed shirt and crossed a grassy field. One two separate trials, the dog was given one shirt to smell and it made a beeline for the owner of that shirt. However, the dog did not signal to the trainer in a definitive way either time.

You can trick a trained bloodhound by very carefully concealing your body odor and spraying a fake scent trail.

busted

Jamie first washed himself with special products containing enzymes to remove odors. Assistants helped him put on two layers of sealed clothing and a gas mask that filtered his breath as he exhaled. The assistants then sprayed him with acetone. Jamie was also given a backpack sprayer containing water from his bath, allowing him to lay out a false trail.

The hound first followed the false trail and found Jamie’s discarded backpack, but it barely paused before heading right to Jamie’s hiding place.

You can hide contraband from a “sniffer dog” (police drug/explosive-detecting dog) by covering the contraband with coffee.

busted

Grant, Tory, and Kari went to a 17,000 square foot warehouse test these myths. They put the (unspecified) contraband in a tupperware container and filled it with coffee grounds before hiding the container. The person who hid it was also careful to spread their own scent randomly throughout the warehouse. The dog found the contraband within 5 minutes.

You can hide contraband from a sniffer dog by covering the contraband with peanut butter.

busted

The dog easily found the contraband.

You can hide contraband from a sniffer dog by covering the contraband with perfume.

busted

The dog easily found the contraband.

You can hide contraband from a sniffer dog by covering the contraband with bleach.

busted

The dog easily found the contraband.

You can hide contraband from a sniffer dog by covering the contraband with citronella.

busted

The dog easily found the contraband.

You can distract a sniffer dog using lots of people, noise, and other chaos.

busted

Over 200 people were brought in to create a mock party. A taco truck and stereo were also present. One person was given the contraband as well as a high-pitch noise maker designed to repel dogs. Whenever the search dog came close to the contraband holder, he activated the high-pitch noise. The dog was not distracted by any of these things and it successfully found the contraband.

You can distract a sniffer dog with a female dog in heat.

busted

The search dog was, in fact, rather distracted when the female was present. However, the handler made sure the female was removed from the area (as would be done in real-world searches) and the search dog found the contraband.

You can trick the handler of a sniffer dog by using food as a potential false-positive.

busted

Tory placed the contraband under a false bottom within a piece of luggage and then filled the luggage with food such as bread and cheese. The intent was to fool the handler into thinking the dog was interested in the food rather than contraband. The dog found the luggage and the handler found the contraband within.

You can trick the handler of a sniffer dog by placing contraband in something disgusting.

busted

In hopes that the handler would not be willing to search through something so disgusting, Kari hid the contraband in a bag of old, dirty diapers. The dog found the bag and the handler found the contraband within.