Factors That May Affect the Success of Scent Detection Dogs: Exploring Nonconventional Models of Preparation and Deployment

Sarah-Elizabeth Byosiere, Lynna C. Feng and Nicholas J. Rutter, 2019


In the target article titled “Behavioral and Cognitive Factors That Affect the Success of Scent Detection Dogs,” Troisi and colleagues highlight several challenges associated with scent detection dog preparation and deployment. Traditionally, scent detection dogs have been bred, raised, and trained at designated training facilities. More recently, several organizations, primarily in the conservation detection industry, have employed non-conventional models of scent detection dog selection and preparation. In this commentary, we highlight three of these non-conventional models: the community-based model, in which community members and their privately owned dogs are trained for deployment; the community-fostered model, in which puppies live with foster families during training; and the shelter-based model, in which dogs are sourced from shelters and rescues. We generally discuss these approaches and emphasize various benefits for both the dogs and the organizations. Finally, we explore the possibility that different models of scent detection selection, preparation, and deployment may support scientific opportunities for a better understanding of the ideal qualities of a detection dog–handler team.

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