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Training explosives detection dogs by remote commands (FaDi)

 

Motivation

Using detection dogs is an effective and established method of detecting explosives. Handler and dog work together on site as a team. The handler controls the search behavior of the dog and interprets the result.

However, both dog and handler are exposed to considerable danger when working close to a possible device. Hence, the dog`s mobility, non-intrusiveness and olfactory ability should be combined whith inter-connected technical means to enable the safe and secure assessment of search areas.


Problem

There are neither meaningful tests on the remote command deployment of detedtion dogs nor on the use of technical detection means combined withe the dog`s natural capabilities ( mobility, non-intrusiveness and olfactory ability aimed specifically at safeguarding the search process, the dog and handler.

Methods

 The selected dogs (5 in number, breed-malinoi-aka Belgian shepered dog) aged from 3 to 4
 months were gradually accustomed to wearing a 
 breast-harness containg a walkie-talkie and video-camera.   

 

 

The animals were conditioned to a specific explosive using EMPK`s® as a training aid. Trainingwas conducted on a differentiation course and on single distintive objects. The distance between the search area and dog-handler was gradually increased.

Verification of the dog`s correct behavior followed as quickly as possible via radio-telephone by means of a clicking sound. The dog interprets the reproducible sound as praise having associated it previously with a positive experience such as food or play. The radio-telephone is also used to relay simple acoustic commands to the dog.

The video camera carried by the dogs serves as a visual control of the object being searched and the search process itself. The camera should give the dog handler the possibility to recognize in advance, dangers to the animal and then, if necessary to abort the search process.

Results

 The detection dog is directed to the search target by its handler.  

 The dog approaches the target.

 The dog assumes an unassisted "sit" position indicating an explosives find.

  A callback via radio-telephone then follows.

Summary

  • Conditioning the dog to a specific explosive using EMPK`s® proved to be successful.
  • The detection dog can disengage from its handler and assess a larger object for explosives.
  • Controlling the search process by video link, aborting the process and call-back via radio-telephone are possible.

Further aims of this feasibility study are to train the detection dogs to locate inconspicuious and smaller objects and to widen the search process to include scattered objects. Moreover, the technical aids used to conduct and safeguard the search process will be continually expanded.

Below are a selection of photos from the training exercises