Kw-logo-smaller

Working Dog Trilogy

Search and Rescue dog at work.
Search Dog
A beagle sniffs luggage at the airport.
Drug Sniffing Dog

Dogs aren't just man's best friend. They are able to do a lot more than chase a ball and bring it back. Dogs have been trained to find people buried under debris, lost in the mountains or otherwise missing. You can see them in airports, border crossings and used by police to sniff out contraband. They may even be able to smell cancer!

Search and Rescue Dogs

In the Netherlands, Search and Rescue dogs (called SAR dogs) learn how to sniff out people following their scent. A tracking or trailing dog follows the scent of particles that fall from victims, like dandruff or skin pieces. A dog searching for living people also tracks the scent of breath and sweat. SAR dogs looking for dead people only follow the scent that belongs to the victim such as human tissue.

Contraband Sniffers

You've seen these dogs at airports sniffing luggage for drugs and other contraband. Mike Ferdinand from Interquest Detection Canines says they generally use hunting breeds like Golden and Labrador Retrievers but not only for their sense of smell. "They have a good disposition, excellent working life and are great around kids." But how do they smell contraband? "The dogs are trained on a positive reward system. Every time they smell the scents they are trained on, they get to play with a toy," says Mike. When they do smell contraband, the dogs are trained to sit immediately. Mike calls this a passive alert dog. For retrievers, sitting is something they struggle with since they instinctively want to retrieve. Beagles are another commonly used dog for their tracking skills and sense of smell.

Cancers Catchers

One of the more recently discovered skills dogs have, is the possible ability to smell cancer. Take George for example - this Schnauzer learned to smell cancer by retrieving a tube that had a melanoma sample in it. When George found the tube he was given a treat. Eventually George was put before the real test - humans. When George came across the a patient with cancer he sat down and gently tapped them with his paw. Out of the seven test patients, George identified five with cancer.

Related Stories:

  • Dog Overview
  • Guide Dogs
  • More Amazing Animals
  • >
    >

    readers voted!

    Comments

    sweet bubble gum
    PUT ITS GRATE THAT THERE WORKING TO SOLVE A CRIME
    commented: Sat Oct 08, 2011

    sweet bubble gum
    OWWW SOO SAD TO SEE DOGS AT WORK =(
    commented: Sat Oct 08, 2011

    there are 2 more comments

    Please login or register to add comments


    like this article?
    Sign up now to get more just like it!

    latest videos

    F998059217093

    Should People Who Abuse Dogs Go to Jail?

    • Definitely.
    • Maybe.
    • Depends how bad it is.
    • No way.

    related stories

    Random in the forums

    A16
    A16 posted in Say Anything:
    Thanks kid! :3
    reply 5 minutes
    shae508
    shae508 posted in Say Anything:
    I won't!
    reply 8 minutes
    Cataclysm_Destruct
    Happy
    reply 10 minutes
    bluesky05
    bluesky05 posted in General:
    Its alright same thing happened to me a few years ago you'll get over it I promise
    reply 17 minutes
    bluesky05
    bluesky05 posted in General:
    Bored and tired mixed together  :annoyed
    reply 19 minutes

    play online games

    Candy-100

    A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

    Big_icon_(7)

    Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

    Hour-of-code-tumb

    Millions of Students will be doing an Hour of Code with Tynker December 8th-14th...

    Big_icon_(4)

    You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

    Big_icon_(6)

    The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!