Explosive detection - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2010, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Explosive detection

First off, I hope I'm posting this in the correct topic. If not, my apologies. Anyway, I will be getting my new GSD puppy next month and would like to train her in explosives detection. It won't be for work, more of a hobby. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars, my main reason for wanting to do it is to give her something to keep her mentally challenged and interested. I'm interested in explosives because I work with them at my job and have access to training aids. I want to either go this route or tracking. Would it be more practical to go with the tracking? I realize there wouldn't be a lot of opportunity for her to actually be searching for the explosives unless I take her to work (for training) and I don't want her to get frustrated if she rarely finds anything. Does anybody know of any good training references (books, videos, etc) or advice? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 05:39 PM
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You can always try a venue like K9 Nosework. They put on trials for "building search" type training. K9 NOSE WORK

Why not do both! I have started my dog in tracking and I am going to a K9 Nosework seminar next month!

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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I'll check into that when I get home from the desert. These stupid govt computers won't let me open the site. Thanks for the link! I was looking for more resources, so I'm sure this will help.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 03:02 AM
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I think government and law enforcement try to keep that one secretive. I work with a military K9 handler and he won't tell me what the dogs are trained to detect. It would be easy to teach him to find black powder, just show him the smell and reward him when he finds it (like seeking a toy). The problem would be other explosive compounds have little to no similarity in chemical make up, but there must be some common element and that's what bomb dogs are taught to go after. Why would you want to do this anyhow? you probably won't encounter much unexploded ordinance in your day to day travels. Just buy a bag of pot and teach him to find that... It would make a better parlor trick anyway "puppy... go find the hippy"
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 08:25 AM
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My first instinct is that training for explosives on your own probably isn't the absolute best idea in this day in age. I just think about the amount of work that my lab has to go through to get standards for arson, prescription drugs, street drugs, etc. I can't imagine that having your own personal stash of explosives standards to train your dog is something that you should really have sitting in your closet.

And I definitely don't think it's a good idea to buy a bag of pot to train your dogs on drugs! Yikes!

There's lots of things that you could train her to find to get her mind working without getting too much into the realm of controlled substances/materials. Even just making her find specific toys. Similar to explosives, you could train her to find accelerants in burned material such as gasoline...assuming you have a safe place to burn some wood with an accelerant on it. Why not look into joining a SAR team?

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhfitch View Post
I think government and law enforcement try to keep that one secretive. I work with a military K9 handler and he won't tell me what the dogs are trained to detect. It would be easy to teach him to find black powder, just show him the smell and reward him when he finds it (like seeking a toy). The problem would be other explosive compounds have little to no similarity in chemical make up, but there must be some common element and that's what bomb dogs are taught to go after. Why would you want to do this anyhow? you probably won't encounter much unexploded ordinance in your day to day travels. Just buy a bag of pot and teach him to find that... It would make a better parlor trick anyway "puppy... go find the hippy"
Its not quite as simple, particularly if you are doing it for real. It is easy to train a dog to "hit" on the wrong thing. For example, contaminating the item with your scent will teach a dog to find your scent to find the item, not the actual item. In court there is always the issue of training for the correct compound. We have to verify the chemical makeup of drugs.
Dogs can be trained to detect several different scents, so they can train many different components of a bomb, instead of one general one.
And of course it is kept secret. If everyone knew what the dogs were trained to detect, it may be possible to find another compound that will do the trick that the dogs aren't trained to detect.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 11:10 AM
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I just started reading "the tracking dog:Therory and Methods" by Glen Johnson....Pretty good read so far!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2010, 02:29 PM
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ok...if you want to teach her to hunt for something just as a hobby, hide her kong and have her find it. ur not gonna be able to find someone to train your dog to do explosives detection just as a hobby....its just not gonna happen unless you personally know the trainers or have a lot of money to pay them for a waist of time.

but...if you really want to know you have to start on scent boxes...oh and dont mix odors....NO NO NO!!

you know, i started my dog on dope but never got real far because it was a waist of time and i was probably like you, just wanted to say i had a dope dog but its pointless when the training will take you nowhere if you dont intend on useing it... so now i just take a tennis ball and hide it...thats basicly the same aspect as searching for drugs or bomb. the dog thinks he's looking for a toy...he has no idea that there is something other than that that he is looking for....

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Last edited by lcht2; 11-12-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2010, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dhfitch View Post
I think government and law enforcement try to keep that one secretive. I work with a military K9 handler and he won't tell me what the dogs are trained to detect. It would be easy to teach him to find black powder, just show him the smell and reward him when he finds it (like seeking a toy). The problem would be other explosive compounds have little to no similarity in chemical make up, but there must be some common element and that's what bomb dogs are taught to go after. Why would you want to do this anyhow? you probably won't encounter much unexploded ordinance in your day to day travels. Just buy a bag of pot and teach him to find that... It would make a better parlor trick anyway "puppy... go find the hippy"

its not any harder to train a bomb dog than it is to train a dope dog and to be honest, all you need is a dog with A LOT of ball/toy drive...the most difficult type of detection work that i have ever worked with was SAR. the hard part about bomb and dope is you have to find scent and bomb scent is hard to find just anywhere and you can buy dope scent specifically for dog detection online...but i have a guy who trains dope and bomb dogs that has REAL scent which comes with the real deal!

steve

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all of the responses. As far as explosives and what they detect, I have access to everything I would need, but having had her since March I've realized you guys are right. It's not worth the trouble just for a hobby or just to have her be able to do something different. I'd rather be at home training her to find a ball than spending time at work training her for something she'll probably never get to do. Plus the ball is just as fun for her, which is just as important. Thanks again!

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