How dogs detect explosives, offers new training recommendations

A research team at () has helped determine the science behind how canines locate such as Composition C-4 (a plastic explosive used by the U.S. military). The study found the react best to the actual explosive, calling into question the use of products designed to mimic the odor of C-4 for purposes. These findings are the culmination of a four-year contract funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

“Appropriately, dogs that are trained to find real explosives are going to find real explosives and not much else,” said , Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology and director for the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program in the at IUPUI.

The effectiveness of trained is well established, but the study sought to determine which chemical compounds cause a dog to recognize a particular explosive and alert to it. Previous studies have suggested that certain non-explosive chemicals emitted by Composition C-4 cause dogs to alert, and that these specific chemicals could be used as mimic substances to train the dogs in place of real explosives.

In the first phase of the study, IUPUI researchers discovered that the non-explosive chemicals given off by C-4 mimics also are present in a variety of everyday plastic objects. Objects tested included PVC pipes, electrical tape, movie tickets, a plastic grocery bag and plastic food wrapping. Several of the tested items emitted appreciable levels of a mimic compound recommended by some vendors for training canines.

The second phase exposed 33 trained canines from the DOD, Department of Justice, Amtrak and other agencies to these vapors to see if the dogs would respond. The field trials demonstrated that the dogs failed to respond in any significant way to specific odor compounds found in C-4. The results indicate that if the dogs are trained on the full scent, they will only real explosives.

“The canines are not easily fooled — you can't pick and choose components of explosive odors and expect the dog to respond,” Goodpaster said. “Dogs are specific and it's the full scent that causes them to alert.”

The study also sought to better establish the scientific facts needed for canine detection to be legally admissible evidence — an effort that found using mimic compounds could present challenges in court. By training with real explosives, false positives are unlikely in the field. Overall, the team recommended that dogs be trained with actual, not mimic, explosives.

While there is technology available to search for explosives, canines remain the best option because of their speed, sensitivity and ability to search large numbers of items, Goodpaster said. Co-authors on the study include current and former IUPUI School of Science undergraduate and graduate students: William Kranz, Kelley Kitts, Nicholas Strange, Joshua Cummins and Erica Lotspeich.

The full study appears in the

… Continue reading here.
Dogs News — Sciencedaily

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    • shane's dad
    • March 3, 2014
    178 of 199 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    solid food for a solid price, February 26, 2012

    This review is from: Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Venison, 30-Pound Bag (Misc.)
    Unlike most pet owners in the world, I have fed my dogs high quality foods for years, with taste of the wild(TOTW) being one of them. Both the high prairie and the wetlands are foods I’d recommend for those on a budget wanting to feed quality foods to their dogs. The pacific stream, and sierra mountain aren’t high enough in meat content for me to recommend.

    what do I like about this food?
    dogs are carnivores with an identical internal anatomy of the wolf. dogs do not need carbs, veggies or grains. Taste of the wild is much higher in meat than a lot of other foods, and has no grains.

    firm stools! Out of all of the foods I’ve used, including, wellness core, canidae, acana, evo, totw always proves the best stools.

    price….this is one of the more affordable foods of this caliber….and is even comparable in price to grocery level foods such as iams or pukeanuba..which are garbage

    taste of the wild and other diamond manufactured foods are ethoxyquin free

    I am a little weary of foods that come out of diamond since they have had a few recalls.
    I also think that, while taste of the wild has a lot of meat content, it doesn’t hold a candle to foods like acana, orijen evo

    I’d recommend this food if you want to feed your pets a high quality diet that is better than 90percent of the foods out there but are on a budget and can’t feed a raw diet or a diet such as orijen.


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    • D. Eberhardt
    • March 3, 2014
    88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Food, March 2, 2009
    D. Eberhardt

    This review is from: Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Venison, 30-Pound Bag (Misc.)
    I have the lazy couch potato dog that the first reviewer described. An overweight black lab adult female who is quite lazy. Switching foods from Purina to TOTW Bison, and not measuring daily feedings, and feeding her as she pleases, she has more energy, is more playful, and has already lost 10lbs. and is five pounds away from her ideal weight of 75lbs. I highly recommend this food to all dog owners.


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