9 things you should know about detection dogs

By K9 Patrol 22/09/16, Posted in Dog Training

Detection dogs are pretty extraordinary, and as a security service that utilises both static guard and canine patrols, we can fully appreciate their talents in our field of work.

But what do you know about detection dogs? Whether used for drug detection or explosive detection, these dogs have a lot of interesting facts about them.

Fact #1

Detection dogs are trained to detect target scents, and alert their handlers to it. These scents can vary hugely because, thanks to our furry friend’s incredible sense of smell, the list of detectable target scents is almost endless.

The main scents that detection dogs are trained to identify include:

  • Drugs
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Criminal evidence
  • Cash
  • Other contraband

Fact #2

A trained detection dog is not only able to recognise and distinguish particular smells, but they are able to discern scents that are masked by other odours too. What’s amazing is how they are able to do this…

Dogs smell in layers, and they are quite unique in this way. They are able to differentiate between multiple smells and multiple ingredients that their nose picks up, making them extremely thorough when it comes to sniffing out target scents.

Fact #3

In fact, you might be surprised at how thorough dogs and their noses really are. Their sense of smell is at least 10,000 times more acute than ours. On top of their superior sense of smell, dogs can search an area up to four times faster than we humans can – not to mention the fact that they do so with greater accuracy.

Fact #4

However, the idea of using dogs for policing purposes isn’t just a modern thing. Research shows that the Greeks, Persians and Babylonians also used guard dogs for security, as well as for search and rescue.

And our ancient ancestors were onto a clear winner there, as Fact #3 tells us…

Fact #5

Despite the fact that so much time has passed since then, dogs are still considered to be the most effective of all bomb detectors.

A lot of time and research have gone into discovering and developing different security methods, but nothing has come out to be more successful than man’s best friend.

Fact #6

A number of breeds are well suited for detection work, including Spaniels and Labradors, however German Shepherds were the first breed to be used as official police dogs, being used in World War 1, World War 2 and the Vietnam War.

This is because the breed is well known for its superior intelligence, and their ability to learn and obey. They also have a fantastic work ethic that isn’t necessarily seen in other breeds of dog.

Fact #7

K9 and detection dogs have a different process of identification to us, relying heavily on their sense of smell. To identify objects, they will first put their nose to the test, and then they will recognise the voice, then the silhouette.

In fact, detection dogs are even able to tell the difference between identical twins because of their noses which, more often than not, is more than their parents can say!

Fact #8

Many detection dogs nowadays were initially trained to become guide dogs, however changed over to security work because of their high energy levels and their susceptibility to getting distracted by smells.

In other words, the traits that resulted in them failing at becoming guide dogs, made them perfect candidates for detection or sniffer dogs.

Fact #9

But it’s not all about their super skills and senses; dogs provide people with a feeling of security by just being there. Detection dogs don’t need to prove their ability to people at events or just generally around them – people, including potential criminals, just know what these dogs are capable of.

If you’d like to find out more about our detection dog or canine patrol services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You can call us on 01423 551526 or email us at info@k9patrol.co.uk.

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