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The canine sense of smell is notoriously powerful, and humans have capitalized on this by training scent dogs for a wide variety of purposes: as trackers, drug dogs, explosives ordinance K9s and dogs that can detect human smuggling.
These dogs are valuable assets to world security and can be trained for both passive alerts and aggressive alerts to achieve powerful psychological effects. However, there are a number of other types of detection dogs being used today in strange but ingenious ways. But just because these dogs aren’t tracking down criminals, drugs, weapons or bomb materials doesn’t make what they do any less important – or any less fascinating. See for yourself:
The wrong piece of fruit introduced to a different (and/or fragile) ecosystem elsewhere could have devastating effects. And though there’s not too many fruit smugglers out there, many tourists inadvertently transport fruit from one country to another. To prevent this government agencies worldwide have trained and deployed fruit-detecting dogs at airports and border crossings to prevent any “accidental” smuggling.
Serious drugs or weapons deals are associated with serious cash, so police agencies have trained specialized cash detection canines. These dogs are able to differentiate between small amounts of cash and large, suspicious amounts and alert passively on the latter. This is also an effective tool in the fight against money laundering, which is often associated with drugs, terrorism and organized crime.
*Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
Bed bugs are a serious problem in many parts of the world and it can be extremely difficult to eradicate them permanently. The reason for this is that the primary sources of the bugs are nearly impossible to detect.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to the powerful nose of the dog, which can be trained to detect and pinpoint bed bug concentrations that can then be targeted for extermination.
Currently there are between 200 and 300 of these specialized canines in use worldwide. Eradication efforts using bed bug detection dogs are often significantly more successful than traditional extermination practices, with demand for these dogs increasing each year.
*Trifling with Truffles
In Europe and other parts of the world pigs are used to hunt for truffles because of their superior sense of smell. Unfortunately, the temptation of the truffles is often too much for pigs and as a result they may eat a lot of what they’re trained to find.
However, canines can be trained to exercise far more restraint and therefore many truffle hunters would argue that the dog is a more useful tool in this regard. Additionally, dogs are able to work a search pattern much more quickly than a pig, resulting in a larger yield for each hunt.
In Summary – Dogs are capable of sensing what we as humans cannot sense or develop technology to detect. This makes detection canines an indispensible part of the communities they serve and a formidable foe to anything they might be tracking – even if it’s just a bed bug.
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