Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study reveals how dogs detect explosives, offers new training recommendations

Date:
February 27, 2014
Source:
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science
Summary:
Researchers have helped determine the science behind how canines locate explosives such as Composition C-4 (a plastic explosive used by the US military). The study found the dogs react best to the actual explosive, calling into question the use of products designed to mimic the odor of C-4 for training purposes.

A new study found dogs react best to the actual explosive, calling into question the use of products designed to mimic the odor of C-4 for training purposes.
Credit: Image courtesy of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science

A research team at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has helped determine the science behind how canines locate explosives such as Composition C-4 (a plastic explosive used by the U.S. military). The study found the dogs react best to the actual explosive, calling into question the use of products designed to mimic the odor of C-4 for training 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 John Goodpaster, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology and director for the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program in the School of Science at IUPUI.

The effectiveness of trained detector dogs 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 detect 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 March 2014 Forensic Science International.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William Kranz, Kelley Kitts, Nicholas Strange, Joshua Cummins, Erica Lotspeich, John Goodpaster. On the smell of Composition C-4. Forensic Science International, 2014; 236: 157 DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.12.012

Cite This Page:

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. "Study reveals how dogs detect explosives, offers new training recommendations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227134845.htm>.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. (2014, February 27). Study reveals how dogs detect explosives, offers new training recommendations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227134845.htm
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. "Study reveals how dogs detect explosives, offers new training recommendations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227134845.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
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