Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving dogs' ability to detect explosives

Date:
July 30, 2013
Source:
University of Lincoln
Summary:
Training of dogs to recognise explosives could be quicker and more effective following research by animal behaviour experts.

An improvised explosive device detection dog, sniffs out a possible IED.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Lincoln

Training of dogs to recognise explosives could be quicker and more effective following research by animal behaviour experts.

Related Articles


The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in the US has enlisted the expertise of academics from the University of Lincoln, UK, to improve the training of search dogs.Explosive search dogs are usually trained to alert handlers to specific odours, learning each scent individually.

This is a time-consuming process, especially as the composition of different explosives varies greatly.

Helen Zulch, Anna Wilkinson and Ruth Croxton, from the School of Life Sciences at Lincoln, have been awarded a grant from the ONR to investigate whether explosive detection dogs are capable of learning by categorisation, a cognitive process that is thought to play a major role in the way humans and animals naturally process new information.

Nina Cracknell of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is a collaborator on the project.

The study will explore whether dogs can be trained to recognise the significance of a group of odours, rather than having to learn each scent individually.

Helen Zulch, clinical animal behaviour specialist, said: "There is a need to develop more generic training approaches as current methods are fairly laborious. In this study we will be testing whether a dog can be taught a general rule for a group of odours and then apply that knowledge to a new situation, involving scents it has never encountered. We know dogs can categorise visual stimuli, so the aim of this study is to find out whether dogs are able to categorise odours in a similar manner."

This proof of principle study will involve teaching dogs to detect a group of accelerants, and if this is successful then future research can move on to explosives.

"One of the main issues with explosives is that, especially in the Theatre of War, more and more homemade devices are being created. It's getting the dogs to quickly understand the relevance of certain new substances without alerting on every household chemical," said Dr Zulch.

In addition the team will be carrying out the analysis of air samples to try and pinpoint what it is the dogs find significant or otherwise.

Dr Zulch said: "The main question we would like to answer is, what are the specific chemical odours the dog is alerting to? If successful this initial research could lead to applications in the real world."

Lisa Albuquerque, Naval Expeditionary Dog Program Manager at ONR, added: "One of the great advantages in doing research at ONR is the ability ONR has to reach out to premier scientists around the world in search of solutions for the hard problems identified by our warfighters. We are able to leverage previous research and real-life experiences, such as the UK's extensive history of using dogs for the detection of homemade explosives, to increase the speed with which we can identify solutions and decrease research costs to the taxpayer. The role of canine cognition in processing complex odours is an important and exciting new research area and the work done by the scientists at the University of Lincoln will potentially support long-term improvements to the ways we train dogs for detection."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Lincoln. "Improving dogs' ability to detect explosives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730091148.htm>.
University of Lincoln. (2013, July 30). Improving dogs' ability to detect explosives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730091148.htm
University of Lincoln. "Improving dogs' ability to detect explosives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730091148.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins