A dog is born with a far superior sense of smell as compared to humans. Some are more acute than others. When one of these fine animals is chosen to undergo detection dog training, that training is long and arduous. His sense of smell is honed and developed towards one particular function, such as human tracking or as a cadaver dog.
Before training begins, the animal is tested to see if he is amenable to the regimen. He may be used to detect blood such as in a murder case. The blood may have been deposited in a house or car ten or more years ago. Astonishingly, he will still be able to smell it. Usually with modern lab capabilities, the blood can be matched to the victim and murderer.
Some search and rescue teams are trained to find a person buried in an avalanche or earthquake. It can be urgent to locate a person quickly to avoid suffocation under snow or mud. When someone is under snow, he can perish within a half hour if not dug out. Some of the cadaver dogs can locate bodies under mud, debris or water. It is especially difficult when searching a large body of water.
Law enforcement dogs are trained to find bodies after an earthquake, for example. Others save human lives by detecting a living person buried under any type of debris and allowing rescuers to know where to dig. These dogs are in peril themselves during such a search as it may include going into narrow and unstable piles of rock or building materials.
Two types of training teach the dog to trail human scent. In one case, the dog is trained to follow, on the ground, any scent of any person. In the other type of training, the dog sniffs an article of clothing or other object that gives off the scent of one specific individual. The law enforcement canine then follows that person without being distracted by the smell of any other person.
K9 law enforcement dogs have now been trained to detect mussels on the bottoms of boats at public loading ramps. Some species of these mussels are quite damaging to indigent populations of fish. They are brought into the country from overseas and transported inadvertently from one state to another.
Searching a prison cell for illegal cell phones is one talent that can be developed through detection dog training. The current bedbug infestation is a terrible problem in homes and motels. The travel industry is impacted by these unwelcome guests. No one can notice them since they hide in the daytime and come out to bite people as they sleep. Canines can be trained to detect these pests and allow the exterminator to do his work where the problem exists.
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