There’s a new career in town for dogs: weed-sniffers. And no, it’s not what you think. By weed, I means weeds. As in “invasive species” that creep up in your lawns and gardens, or nature preserves. They also sniff out moving critters like snails and animal scat, equipped with GPS unites to help pin point locations:
Seamus was trained to sniff out Dyer’s woad, a noxious weed that takes over rangeland, choking out native plants that are an important source of food and habitat for wildlife.
The dog often works off-leash, crisscrossing quadrants of the park until he picks up the scent of Dyer’s woad. When he stops, the GPS in his bright orange doggy backpack marks the location of the invasive weed. [His handler, Aimee] Hurt also makes note of the coordinates and will return to spray the plant. …
A 2010 study published in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management found that dogs sniffed out twice the number of invasive plants that humans could detect with their eyes.