Canine Detection Capabilities: Operational Implications of Recent Findings

J.M Johnston, 1999


Dogs have been successfully used for many years by military and law enforcement agencies to detect varied substances. However, the science underlying their olfactory detection capabilities has been slow to accumulate and even slower to impact operational training and deployment protocols. Since 1989, the Institute for Biological Detection systems (IBDS) at Auburn University has worked to ameliorate this problem. A number of recent laboratory and field studies have begun to reveal the dog’s olfactory sensitivity, how it recognizes substances, and how it performs in the field. This paper summarizes selected findings and their possible operational consequences.

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