Detector Dogs: Candidates

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ambience: dog barking

These days, scent detecting dogs are sniffing out everything from drugs and explosives to leaky pipes and pesky termites. When it comes to choosing dogs who are likely to be good scent detectors, breeding does play a role, but it has more to do with physical form than instinctive ability. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Lawrence Myers is a professor of veterinary medicine at Auburn University in Alabama.

“A lot of people have very strong opinions about what is the best breed of dog, but there are no data to support one over the other really. Blood hounds do very well at tracking, but so do many other breeds. Labradors and Shepherds and Belgian Malinois do very well at drug and bomb detecting but so do many other breeds, and so do mutts.(#1 @3:05) In general, it’s fairly difficult to use dogs like Boston Terriers, Pugs, other dogs that have sort of squashed in faces. They have a hard time breathing compared to the other dogs. And if you’re going to use a dog in an environment where it has to be able to get over rubble, say, in the case of a search and rescue dog, you probably don’t want something like a Pomeranian or a Miniature Poodle that doesn’t have the longer legs and the endurance.”

Most dogs who are chosen to go into detection training begin between the ages of 1 and 3, once they’ve shown the friendly and obedient personality necessary for the job.

“They’ve developed the behaviors they’re likely to have as adults, mostly at this point, and they’re still young enough to have a fairly long working life span at this stage.”

Once they’ve been scent trained, dogs are able to detect odor particles in quantities smaller than a few parts per million. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Detector Dogs: Candidates

For canine candidates of scent detection, "there's more than meets the nose."
Air Date:11/02/2007
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: dog barking

These days, scent detecting dogs are sniffing out everything from drugs and explosives to leaky pipes and pesky termites. When it comes to choosing dogs who are likely to be good scent detectors, breeding does play a role, but it has more to do with physical form than instinctive ability. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Lawrence Myers is a professor of veterinary medicine at Auburn University in Alabama.

"A lot of people have very strong opinions about what is the best breed of dog, but there are no data to support one over the other really. Blood hounds do very well at tracking, but so do many other breeds. Labradors and Shepherds and Belgian Malinois do very well at drug and bomb detecting but so do many other breeds, and so do mutts.(#1 @3:05) In general, it’s fairly difficult to use dogs like Boston Terriers, Pugs, other dogs that have sort of squashed in faces. They have a hard time breathing compared to the other dogs. And if you're going to use a dog in an environment where it has to be able to get over rubble, say, in the case of a search and rescue dog, you probably don’t want something like a Pomeranian or a Miniature Poodle that doesn’t have the longer legs and the endurance."

Most dogs who are chosen to go into detection training begin between the ages of 1 and 3, once they've shown the friendly and obedient personality necessary for the job.

"They’ve developed the behaviors they’re likely to have as adults, mostly at this point, and they’re still young enough to have a fairly long working life span at this stage."

Once they've been scent trained, dogs are able to detect odor particles in quantities smaller than a few parts per million. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music