Things to Know About Sniffer and Bomb Detection Dogs Dec15

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Things to Know About Sniffer and Bomb Detection Dogs

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Ever since the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the United States in 2001, sniffer and expolosives dogs have been out and about in public and crowded areas, such as airports. When before, every time we see these types of dogs in our vicinity, we tend to get a little bit paranoid or afraid, seeing these dogs now give us a sense of security.

Sniffer dogs for drug detection are dogs that have been trained to use their already keen sense of smell to identify and locate particular substances such as illegal drugs or explosives. However, although sometimes their trainings and job descriptions overlap, these dogs are not to be confused with K-9’s or police dogs because not all police dogs are trained as sniffers and vice versa.

In the past few years, the use of sniffers have become more and more incorporated not only in police work, but also in other areas like wild life biology. Sniffers and bomb detection dogs are still popular in many countries like the Philippines, where such dogs are visible in malls and hotel entrances and are now considered a staple in these areas. On the other hand, other countries have been sniffers to search for a variety of things, both inanimate and animate such as endangered animal species (a good example would be the black footed ferret), invasive species such as the quagga mussel. What they are trained to do is not exactly look for these animals, but rather employ sniffer services for finding and collecting the feces. For police related work, sniffers have branched out and have been helping crime scene investigators search for human remains or cadavers, fire accelerants in places where there’s an arson investigation and other crime evidence. They have also assisted jail wardens in detecting mobile phones, which are considered a contraband in prisons. And not only that, some medical and bedbug detection dogs have even been trained with health care related scenarios, such as detecting cancerous tumors in humans and identifying hypoglycemic emergencies.

Although sniffers have only become popular now, they have already been around since the early 1900’s, when Danish police started using them. Do you know how keen their sense of smell is? Consider this, human’s sense of smell can detect mixtures of different smells, but for sniffers, their sense of smell is so keen that they are able to differentiate and identify individual scents even if scents are combined or masked by other scents. So even if a murderer washes clean the blood stained walls in a crime scene with bleach, sniffers are still able to discern blood. And what’s more, they have a very high rate of correct positive indication of substances they are trained to detect (almost 100%) and  a very low rate of false positives (almost zero percent).

Sniffers have helped crime solving and crime prevention processes move forward in the past few years. Even with the advent of technology, there seems to be no end in sight in using them.