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Scent Conditioning

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The goal of a detection dog is to find and properly indicate the presence of a product (explosive, narcotic, etc.), no matter where this product is located as long as the product’s location doesn’t overcome the olfactory abilities of the dog.

A proper indication is a passive or proactive (barking) one, depending on the product the dog is searching for. Dog’s indication should be at the closest point of the target hide without manipulating the environment because in this way we can safeguard Human Rights and especially the Right of Property. Moreover, a detection dog must cover 100% of the searching area so we can be sure that we haven’t missed something.

 But what a detection dog is searching for?


 As there are many training approaches in dog detection training, we need to find not only the fastest but also the approach that provides quality in scent imprinting. Otherwise, the dog’s indication and search patterns have no meaning if we haven’t imprinted the right target scent to our detection dog.

As we are dealing with something we can not sense, scent conditioning should take place in a controlled environment, away from cues we cannot manipulate. Moreover, we need to have knowledge about each product we want to imprint and especially the product’s target scent volatility.

 As most of the products consist of more than one compound then the scent of a product depends on the compound’s volatility. So, the dog will most probably imprint the scent of the most volatile compounds.

However, the target scent in many products is less volatile than the other compounds that the product is consisted of.

What scent we have conditioned to the detection dog especially if we don’t perform scent imprinting in a controlled environment?


Will the detection dog be able to find and indicate a product with the “same name” in different countries if a country uses the same target scent but different compounds to build it?

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61 thoughts on “Scent Conditioning”

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