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How Do Canine Sniffers Work?

You have probably seen sniffing canines on TV. There are drills where dogs are made to sniff up the area and clothes of mock insurgents. The very next moment, you see them sniffing around, trying to find out where the mock insurgents are hidden. Although this is a mock drill that these animals are subjected to, the titular job of finding criminals does rest on their shoulders. You will find them in the police, disaster management teams, and also in the army.

They receive all the necessary training since they are pups. You will find them highly dedicated to their work, apart from being the best scent trackers. Most of the canines being recruited into these forces are hounds. The breeds that you will come across most often are German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Dobermans. Know about the diverse ways canines workaround to catch their targets. Their training methodologies also differ in the process.

Phases

Canine sniffers are recruited into the respective forces when they are six to nine months old. It is the ideal age when they can be trained and developed for targeted services in various squads. The animals are handed over to their trainers after recruitment. Thus, starts the trust and bond-making journey, which is so essential for this role. The second phase of training follows this.

In the second phase, they get more specific training. You will find them being inducted into separate training modules. That is done to understand what suits them the best. They are taught to identify wildlife crimes, contraband presences, criminals, and investigate various crime scenes. Once they complete the training and pass the exams, they are assigned to the departments where they will be most effective.

Schooling and Discipline

The canines are made to undergo dog obedience training. The schooling mainly focuses on developing the canine’s skills and roles for a specific purpose. It also teaches them to interact differently with different people. Thus, you can call it socialization training as well. Additionally, it also involves teaching them healthy behaviors. They often start with healthy commands. While the puppy goes through the transformation, it is vital to identify the characteristics like aggression and submissiveness. Once detected, it makes the training process manageable.

The stage also covers grooming for the animal. These processes include clipping nails, bathing, and treatment modalities. It aims towards making the canine more comfortable at the salon or grooming center. Besides those things, they are taught discipline as well. Rewards often precede successful completion of the training.

You should know about the training that drug sniffers receive specifically. It is based on the Shape Signal Method. It is a trendy way to train such canines. They learn hand signals after learning simple commands, followed by sample scent sniffing. The dog learns to associate the scent with the material. In the initial phases, cheese and vanilla are primarily used. Then, drugs replace them. At first, trainers hide the material in easy-to-find places. And slowly raise the difficulty levels. This is how drug sniffers work.

Tasks

Police sniffers perform various duties, out of which scent sniffing is one. Some smells that these canines are made to identify are suspects, drugs, illegal substances, bombs, missing people, and dead bodies. Bomb squad animals require a longer training period than drug and substance sniffers. You can spot them at airports, embassies, and concerts. Some animals are made to identify the scent of decomposition. That makes it easy for them to sniff out corpses.

You will be amazed to know that a canine’s sniffing ability is a hundred times better than humans. These hounds have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. In contrast, we humans have only six million. Their brain is also more recipient to scents.

Important Points

While getting canines trained as sniffers of various genres, you need to keep certain things in mind. If you are a trainer, you need to form a strong relationship with your pooch. Your presence may not be necessary all the time, but the connection is. The more the animal trusts you, the easier it is for you to train him. You have to be patient as it takes time. The animal may take a few weeks to get accustomed to your presence.

Don’t forget to provide the canine with rewards once he accomplishes the task. Moreover, you should conduct frequent tests as well. It will help you to determine if previous tasks have been learned well. Take the animal to all kinds of places to habituate it with changing environments.

Expertly trained canines can sniff out anything. These animals are the arsenal of society to provide security from various kinds of threats — natural or man-made.

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