Drug detection dogs are an important part of drug raids in places where there may be hidden drugs. Dogs have a great sense of smell and people can train them to smell out the odor of certain drugs and other related paraphernalia.
Handlers train drug detection dogs to use their sense of smell so that they can detect these illegal substances. They are trained by their handlers so that they seek out these scents, and when given the word, they will not stop until they find contraband or until their handler tells them to stop. They may find drugs in buildings, vehicles, aircraft, and airports, in luggage, and on people, in clothing, purses, and even inside the body. Good, reliable dogs are assets to preventing drug use.
Training Process for Drug Detection Dogs
The training process is simple as training the dog to look for a toy. The trainer must use a toy to give the dog something to find. In the beginning, the toy (commonly a white towel) does not have any specific scent. The trainer will play tug of war and other games with this particular towel and get the dog to always desire to play with the towel. After this phase, the handler rolls up a small bag of marijuana and places it inside the towel to give the towel a scent similar to one he will be detecting in the future. After a certain amount of time goes by, the dog starts to associate the smell of marijuana with its toy.
In the next phase of the training, the trainer hides the towel with the smell in many different places, training the dog to seek and find the smell of marijuana. Once the dog has sniffed out the scent of the drug, it will scratch and dig and get very excited trying to get to its toy. After this phase, many times, the dog has learned to sniff out the drugs, and the handler will reward the dog with a game of tug of war with its trainer and its toy. As the dog continues with training, the trainer will use several different types of drugs, training the dog to be able to sniff out many different illegal substances. This will cause the dog to be familiarized with many different types of drugs, causing it to react when it smells one of many different scents.
How Do the Dogs Communicate That They’ve Found Drugs?
When the dog detects drugs, it starts digging and scratching at the place where the hidden drugs lie. This is known as its alert, specifically as an aggressive alert. A passive alert is when the dog sits down when they sniff out the scent that they are looking for: This is so that panic does not break out where there is a large group of people around, such as an airport. They are essentially trying to get their toy in order to play with their handler.
The basic job of a drug-detecting dog is to use its sense of smell to sniff out drugs in places where humans cannot see or smell. People can hide drugs in a pile of suitcases, within a wall, or bury them under books, inside pillows, and in piles of trash. Drug detection dogs will follow the scent of the drugs until they find them. Basically, the dog is not looking for drugs when it is performing its duty. It is simply looking for its toy, and it just so happens that the dog now believes that its toy smells like different types of drugs. Therefore, when it finds its toy, it has also led the police to find hidden illegal substances.
Drug-Detecting Dogs Are an Asset
When handlers train drug detection dogs, they train them for both on- and off-leash obedience. They obey silent commands, which are visual commands from their handlers, and also verbal commands as well. Handlers can also train the dogs to obey commands in different languages as well. Drug detection dogs can usually perform well in crowds and around loud noises and can work through other types of distractions. They are also able to work in any environment. These dogs are a great tool in the fight against drugs in our communities. Schools, shopping centers, prisons, and other buildings are using these dogs to sniff out and dispose of drugs on a daily basis.
If you or a loved one worries about drug detection dogs, it’s likely time to get help. The detox programs at Morningside Recovery can jumpstart your sobriety, and our rehab programs will show you how to take your life back. Reach out to us today at 855-631-2135.
By Angela Lambert