Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 287–306 | Cite as

The performance of dogs in detecting α-ionone in the vapor phase

  • D. G. Moulton
  • D. A. Marshall


Concentration-response functions forα-ionone were established for four German shepherds (Figs. 3 and 4). The dogs were tested in a three choice behavioral apparatus (Fig. 2), and trained, by a restricted operant procedure, to establish an approach-avoidance discrimination between odor and air. Odorant concentrations were presented from an olfactometer calibrated by gas chromatography. Minimum detectable concentrations fell within the range 4.0×104.5–4.0×106.5 molecules/cm3. Concentration-response curves for three of the dogs show a clear double reversal in slope which is statistically significant and which divides the curve into a slowly descending upper limb, best fitted by a parabolic function, and a rapidly descending lower limb, best fitted by a cubic function (Figs. 5 and 6). There is evidence that this division might reflect a dual receptor mechanism. When performance during testing stabilized for a given concentration and the concentration was then lowered by a certain magnitude, the new performance level depended markedly on that magnitude. No evidence was found to suggest that adaptation to the test odor influenced performance. As defined by a differential threshold fraction (ΔFlow/Flow) one dog's ability to discriminate between differences in flow rate fell in the range 0.12–0.08.


Chromatography Operant Procedure Vapor Phase Performance Level Detectable Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. G. Moulton
    • 1
  • D. A. Marshall
    • 1
  1. 1.Monell Chemical Senses Center and Departments of Physiology and Animal BiologyUniversity of Pennsylvania and Veterans Administration HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA

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