How To Train A Dog To Find Drugs
Not all dogs are willing to become “sniffers”, but, if you learn how to train them right, most dogs are able. Dog breeds with brachycephalic faces (smushed-in noses) are not great because they are prone to breathing problems and upper respiratory infections. A dog with a stuffed up nose will probably not be the best drug sniffer.
Dogs that are used to sniffing can be trained to find anything. Some police departments use dogs to sniff out corpses, customs uses dogs to sniff out illegal plants at the airport, and you can train your dog to sniff out anything, including that remote control you keep misplacing.
Some dogs are able but not willing, or even interested. If you have the right dog, how do you go about training a sniffing dog?
Training The Dog
1. Teach your dog basic obedience commands. Like when training your dog to be a guard for your property or to provide personal protection, basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and down need to become second nature. If your dog does not respond all of the time, spend your efforts on the basics.
2. Provide your dog with a rugged toy that you will use as a reward every time he sniffs correctly (I suggest the Kong since it is hard rubber and you can hide things inside it). When you play with the dog use the toy every time; the toy should be the means by which you communicate with your dog. Play fetch several times throughout the day with this toy.
3. Start putting the toy in a box, stepping back and then telling the dog to fetch it for you. When he brings it to you praise him lavishly and give him the toy back to play with.
4. Hide the toy and tell him “Find it” as his order to fetch it. Do not make it too hard to start with. If you are using a toy like a Kong, fill it with peanut butter (or something the dog really likes) before you hide it.
5. When the dog understands the concept of “Find it” and is using the command to find his hidden toy, and can do so flawlessly, you need to transfer his searching abilities to another object. This can be drugs, plants, or maybe just your keys or remote control (if you are the kind of person that loses them all of the time and wants to train your dog to find them for you). I am going to use the example of marijuana, as a joint smells strongly and dogs are trained fairly easily. Put the joint inside the Kong toy and put it in the box you used in step 3.
6. Tell the dog “Find it”. When he looks in and sees his Kong, and smells the joint, he will begin to associate the two.
7. Hide the toy (with a joint inside it) somewhere less obvious, not in the box, and tell him to “find it”. As in step 4, this should be easy at first and more difficult as your dog´s training progresses.
8. Always praise him and let him play with the toy as soon as he performs “find it”. Dogs will vary but if you practice with him a few times a day he should have this technique mastered in a few weeks.
9. Substitute any other products you want your dog to search for. There are even products for sale that help you train your dog for bomb detection—I cannot imagine wanting to train a pet for that task!
More About Training Your Dog
- The Best Family Watch Dog
The best family guard dog is the Rottweiler. This breed is ideal as a guard dog and will take good care of the children he is protecting. Find out why.
- How to Train A Dog for Personal Protection
A personal protection dog is trained to guard you at all times. Not all dogs are suited for this job, and not all dogs should even be asked to do this job. Find out if personal protection training is right for your dog, and how to go about it.
- How to Train a Dog to Guard Your House
Do you need a dog to protect your property? Training a dog to guard the house is easy. This article will explain the process and discuss the benefits and some of the problems.
This subject originally came up when a person asked me about hiding drugs. Yes, it is physically possible since a dog is only able to detect drugs because of the release of the drug molecule in the air. He is not able to detect drugs hidden inside a human body; he is not able to detect drugs through a solid object.
No, it is not practicable. If the drug smuggler leaves any holes for the molecules to escape, the dog will pick it up. Several smugglers on the border of Brazil and Bolivia have been caught smuggling even when the cocaine was hidden in the bed of a truck and welded shut.
How? If the weld is not perfect, and any air is able to escape, the dog´s nose will detect the drugs hidden underneath the metal. (Also, if any of the drug was spilled on the bed of the truck before welding the dog would be able to detect those molecules. It does not take much!)
Training a dog to sniff and find objects around the house can be a lot of fun.