Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #290
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Canine Sense and Scent Ability: Applications of Behavior Analysis to Working and Pet Dogs

Sunday, May 26, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich D
Area: AAB; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Nathaniel Hall, Ph.D.
Chair: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
NATHANIEL HALL (Texas Tech University)

Dr. Hall is an Assistant Professor of Companion Animal Science at Texas Tech University and the Director of the Canine Olfaction Research and Education Laboratory in the Department of Animal Science. Dr. Hall earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida, specializing in the study of Behavior Analysis and canine olfaction. As a post-doc, he continued his studies at Arizona State University investigating the optimization of training to enhance canine’s detection of Homemade Explosives. At Texas Tech, his work continues to explore canine olfactory perception and how experience influences odor perception. His lab also investigates predictors and correlates of problem behavior, behavioral predictors of working aptitude, and canine health.


Domestic dogs are utilized worldwide for the detection of explosives, narcotics, wildlife, and missing persons. Further, dogs are utilized by numerous private and governmental organizations such as the military, customs, border patrol and police departments for critical detection and apprehension tasks. Importantly, key basic research measuring detection limits, developing optimal training methods, and selection of dogs are largely lacking. Our lab aims to apply basic behavioral research to address relevant questions for working and pet dogs. This talk will highlight our lab’s research, addressing basic questions on how olfactory sensitivity varies across breeds, the degree to which olfactory sensitivity changes with training, the effects of training method on compound odor stimulus processing, and simple measures to enhance the selection of optimal working dogs. Audience member will learn about the current state of knowledge of detector dog science and where behavioral research can be leveraged to improve the performance of working dogs. The same behavioral principles will also be applicable to pet owners interested in training scent work with their pet dogs, or would simply like to learn more about canine olfactory perception.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to (1) discuss key issues facing the detection dog community; (2) discuss key issues behavioral research can facilitate the performance of working dogs; (3) discuss how a canine behavioral lab can be beneficial in teaching behavioral principles while providing community service.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh