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Seeka
2009-Feb-22, 06:06 PM
Hi all,

I was watching a programme earlier on animal welfare and there was one Labrador who was rescued from a shelter to be trained as a sniffer dog, it got me thinking how is a dog trained to sniff out drugs?
Any ideas?

Steff

jokergirl
2009-Feb-22, 06:31 PM
Do a Google search on clicker training :)

;)

HenrikOlsen
2009-Feb-22, 07:42 PM
Give it treats whenever it does something right and it'll keep doing it.


As for the clicker, you start by teaching the dog that the click means its allowed to ask for a treat, so the click is a good thing that's associated with doing good.

The click becomes a reward in itself and because the click can be done with clearer timing relative to behavior than giving the treat, it's easier for the dog to understand which of the things it was doing that led to the click and secondarily to the treat, which means faster learning.

Seeka
2009-Feb-22, 08:55 PM
So the cops use clickers to train a dog to search for drugs?
I was aware of clickers for domestic training or for dogshows etc, but i always thought the training would be more complex if you had a dog searching baggage at an airport for illegal drugs?

jokergirl
2009-Feb-22, 09:01 PM
Not really, clickers actually seem to be the thing that works best for dog trainers right now.
My BF's mom trains dogs. She says you have to be very precise with the clickers for the dog to link it precisely to the right event - tenth-of-a-second precise even. Beginners are told to train clicker precision by throwing a tennis ball up in the air with one hand and using the clicker when it's at the peak of its curve.

The dogs do amazing stuff when they're trained well though. They're really intelligent!
Sometimes too intelligent even. You have to be careful not to overtrain them - otherwise they will just do exactly what they're told in the examples and won't work properly in the real world. They're quite good at figuring out clues from the trainer too so you have to add double-blind training.

;)

Moose
2009-Feb-22, 09:06 PM
It's relatively easy to train an animal to do something it's already inclined to do if left alone. Dogs are good at following scents. The trainer only guides and adjusts the existing behavior.

cosmocrazy
2009-Feb-22, 09:34 PM
It always amazed me how smart some dogs really are. I had a German Shepperd who was really smart. You could train him to do anything and he was really friendly and loving to people. I could place a biscuit on his nose and he would sit there until i clicked my fingers, then he would throw it up in the air and gobble it down! He was so obedient and very patient!

I miss him loads, he was the best dog ever!

Seeka
2009-Feb-22, 09:41 PM
Thats interesting. I thought sniffer dogs needed alot of training especially for illegal items.

Fazor
2009-Feb-22, 09:52 PM
It always amazed me how smart some dogs really are.
Our youngest dog quickly learned a fun (and conveniant) trick; if the other dog is somewhere else, you can say "Go get your sister!" and she'll run to her sister and bark in her face and/or pull on her tail until she follows her, then shell bring her back to you.

Our other dog is almost completely deaf, so it really helps when she's outside and its cold and/or rainy and I don't feel like putting shoes on to go get her.

The amazing part is that we never taught the puppy to fetch (ie, never formally taught her "go get") and we don't call the older dog "your sister". I have no idea how she learned it, other than listen to everything we say and even remembering the stuff we say in passing, then putting two and two together.

She also learned very quickly to exploit the older dog's love of barking at anything that moves. If the older dog has something she wants (like a toy), she jumps up on the couch infront of the front window, and barks like there's something out there. Of course, the older dog wants in on that action, so she drops the toy and runs over to bark. 'Rooka (the puppy) immediately runs back and grabs whatever it was she wanted.

Moose
2009-Feb-22, 09:59 PM
'Rooka (the puppy) immediately runs back and grabs whatever it was she wanted.

*lol* The doggy equivalent of "Yoink!"

mugaliens
2009-Feb-22, 11:21 PM
It always amazed me how smart some dogs really are. I had a German Shepperd who was really smart. You could train him to do anything...

Fly a Cessna?


...and he was really friendly and loving to people. I could place a biscuit on his nose and he would sit there until i clicked my fingers, then he would throw it up in the air and gobble it down! He was so obedient and very patient!

I miss him loads, he was the best dog ever!

I am sorry you miss him, Cosmo. My brother and his family has a wonderful German shepherd much like that, except for the tricks part. He's more of a protector/companion.

cosmocrazy
2009-Feb-22, 11:39 PM
Fly a Cessna?

you know i reckon he probably could! :lol:

He loved playing soccer and basket ball! he would dribble the ball like a soccer player. And in basket ball if you threw the ball he would jump and try and nose it into the basket!


I am sorry you miss him, Cosmo. My brother and his family has a wonderful German shepherd much like that, except for the tricks part. He's more of a protector/companion.

I miss him because he was my best friend as i was growing up, when i first learned to drive he would come in the car with me and quite happily sit beside me as i drove about. He was very loyal and so sensitive and caring almost human like. He never ever snapped at anybody even when the young kids jumped all over him. He would lie in his basket and let the cats sleep with him, eat his food with him. He would never beg or steal even when the opportunity arrived. I have never had or met another dog like him. It destroyed me when he grew old and had to be put to sleep due to losing the use of his back legs and also suffering from loads of ailments..:cry::cry:

kleindoofy
2009-Feb-23, 12:01 AM
It always amazed me how smart some dogs really are. ...
They are actually pretty dumb, and that's why they're so effective.

Why?

Well, dogs can sniff the drugs by their nature, so the police just tells them they can keep any drugs they find during a search and use them to throw wild parties. This makes the dogs extremely motivated and they sniff out even the tiniest amount of drugs. Then the cops take away the drugs and tell the dog it can keep them "next time." This is repeated every single time and the dogs never cease to fall for it.

Ya see? They're dumb ;)

Salty
2009-Feb-23, 01:13 AM
I think that dogs are smarter than most people give them credit for. I also think that dogs understand more of what we say, than we realize.

For, example, last week I said to She-She, "Well, in five weeks your babies will be grown and gone."

Her head popped up and an expression of alarm came across her face, as if she were repeating, with clear understanding, "...grown and gone?"

Donnie B.
2009-Feb-23, 07:22 PM
If She-She was so smart, that idea wouldn't have been surprising or alarming. ;)

Extravoice
2009-Feb-23, 07:55 PM
When my brother was in the Navy, his barracks (or whatever the Navy calls it) was screened for drugs by a sniffer dog. The dog spent a little too much time at my brother's footlocker, but didn't actually "hit" (the dog was trained to do something like sit infront of the locker if he detected drugs).

While scary scenarios of a frame-up or another sailor stashing drugs in his locker went through his head, my brother was instructed to open the locker.

They found a peanut butter sandwich inside. :)

Fazor
2009-Feb-23, 08:03 PM
They found a peanut butter sandwich inside. :)
Ah, paraphernalia. Everyone knows that hop heads* get the munchies.

*Had to use the term, as I've been looking for an excuse since Red called Leo a Hop Head in an episode [of 'That 70s Show'] I watched over the weekend.

Seeka
2009-Feb-23, 09:34 PM
Red is one of the best characters on tv Fazor:)
My bf's dog Penny would nearly talk to you it is scary. She is so smart, if you talk to her it's like she does know what your saying and she does react if you scold her even if you say scold her in a normal tone she will know.
So there are dogs better suited to sniffing like Labradors and spaniels?

Blood hounds are pretty cool also, that nose is pretty impressive. The natural instinct is amazing.

Donnie B.
2009-Feb-23, 09:47 PM
I read somewhere that dogs' noses aren't really all that much more sensitive than humans'. Their big advantage is that theirs is right down at ground level where the scents are.

Don't ask for a cite, though, I have no idea where I got that.

The dogs that really impress me are the English sheepdogs and their ilk (I think border collies and shepherds have similar skills.) It's just amazing to watch them work. They seem to have a tremendous rapport with their handlers, but also seem to just know what to do.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Feb-23, 09:54 PM
I read somewhere that dogs' noses aren't really all that much more sensitive than humans'. Their big advantage is that theirs is right down at ground level where the scents are.

Don't ask for a cite, though, I have no idea where I got that.
...



...Humans have about 10 cm2 of olfactory epithelium, whereas some dogs have 170 cm2A dog's olfactory epithelium is also considerably more densely innervated, with a hundred times more receptors per square centimetre.


Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olfactory) (yeah, wiki, I know...)

But I think you might have read that humans don't smell as poorly as we think we do, because our noses are way off the ground. I seem to recall something similar.

Nick

Donnie B.
2009-Feb-23, 09:59 PM
"Dogs in general have a nose approximately a hundred thousand to a million times more sensitive than a human's. "

Well now. That seems pretty significant, even if it is a log scale.

Seeka
2009-Feb-23, 10:39 PM
I like watching those competitions with the sheepdogs. The whistle they use to tell the dog to 'come by' or to 'away' (they mean go left or right, i forget which) looks so simple but is capable of so many pitches. The dogs are very focused eh Donnie B.

Is it true that a dogs appendix is fully functional unlike ours?

mugaliens
2009-Feb-23, 11:45 PM
Is it true that a dogs appendix is fully functional unlike ours?

With the stuff I've seen dogs eat, I certainly hope so!

BigDon
2009-Feb-24, 05:05 AM
Hi all,

I was watching a programme earlier on animal welfare and there was one Labrador who was rescued from a shelter to be trained as a sniffer dog, it got me thinking how is a dog trained to sniff out drugs?
Any ideas?

Steff

(Actually, you want to ask how large quantities of heroin and cocaine can be found electromagnetically with a special "radar gun" if you want something odd to think about.)