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Novelties in training method

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K9 companions have withstood time’s many challenges, namely the prevalence of synthetic drugs and various explosive devices which have been developed over the previous century.  Along with newer methods of mayhem come even stronger methods of training police dogs and handler education to deter said madness, keeping our streets safer for everyone.

Conventional methods of training K9 dogs often included bringing an object of common investigations, such as marijuana or gun powder, then sending the canine towards houses, individuals, and cars or building perimeters to sniff out said object.  Once the target items have been discovered through scent detection, K9’s are then rewarded for their day’s work.  However, as expected, criminals are using ingenious methods to throw drug and bomb dogs off course.

New methods which may have saved a marathon

More sophisticated dogs trained to sniff out scents as perpetrators weave through crowds, called Vapor Wakes, are being introduced into major metro areas where more diverse detection methods are necessary.  As Tamerlan Tsarnaev worked his way through a crowded Boston Marathon, these dogs may have picked up the pressure cooker planted inside his backpack, thwarting an inevitable fate for many.

Cohesive efforts across many law enforcement agencies, both on local and federal levels, are being supported through Canine Detection Research Institute of Auburn University to implement more ‘sweeping’ methods of detecting drugs, bomb materials and pressure cooker devices (IED’s) which aren’t your customary backpacking supplies.  With ISIS now an imminent global threat, and the recent catastrophe still clearly an open wound for Bostonians, these training exercises couldn’t happen fast enough.  The CDRI currently undertakes 200 handler-dog tandems yearly, training them mainly on today’s threats while research is being executed by University of Lincoln to pinpoint bomb detection.

Wider net, narrower breed selection?

With K9’s in Colorado, Washington and other marijuana-approved U.S. territories chiding away from this now legal drug, attention is being focused solely on synthetic drugs like methamphetamines, heroin, and all types of detonation devices and bomb materials.  With this wider net being cast, more breeds are being introduced that exceed the sniffing capabilities of your traditional German shepherd.

Of all the breeds of dogs that enjoy considerable popularity, the Springer spaniel is perhaps one of the most sought after today. While Springers are friendly, energetic, and a great family dog that is protective of you and yours while also being intelligent, responsive, and wholly trainable.  These K9’s, one of several preferred companions by law enforcement, have an excellent nasal composition and are able to sniff anything. With 300 million available receptors, their sense of smell amasses humans 60 times over.

Many handlers prefer purebred dogs, such as Spaniels, because of the pedigree, the prestige, and the fact that when government agencies get a purebred dog, they know exactly what they’re getting, thanks to all the time and effort put into training K9 dogs. Getting precisely the desired talents, temperament, and physical traits that handlers want is invaluable. 

Canine cognition of tomorrow

Technology will have an incredibly proactive role in developing cognitive skills in K9 dogs, yet relying on quicker identification of present-day contrabands, such as bomb materials and illegal substances, is something technology cannot force.  Law enforcement officials need to quickly seize, test and train their canines to identify new threats as they’re unveiled.

Training each canine to sense specific groups of accelerants may be another novel method to approach advanced bomb education, to use one example. Barring setbacks, future research can move on to more complex explosives and perhaps introduce PVC-packed pellets, Molotov cocktails and everything else used to engage in criminal acts of violence.  Again, more research and quicker information sharing between agencies may help turn widespread mayhem into isolated, more controllable incidents.

 

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Guest Friday, 13 December 2019