Critical review of dog detection and the influences of physiology, training, and analytical methodologies

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Journal Article
Talanta, 2018, 185 pp. 499 - 512
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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Detection dogs serve a plethora of roles within modern society, and are relied upon to identify threats such as explosives and narcotics. Despite their importance, research and training regarding detection dogs has involved ambiguity. This is partially due to the fact that the assessment of effectiveness regarding detection dogs continues to be entrenched within a traditional, non-scientific understanding. Furthermore, the capabilities of detection dogs are also based on their olfactory physiology and training methodologies, both of which are hampered by knowledge gaps. Additionally, the future of detection dogs is strongly influenced by welfare and social implications. Most importantly however, is the emergence of progressively inexpensive and efficacious analytical methodologies including gas chromatography related techniques, “e-noses” and capillary electrophoresis. These analytical methodologies provide both an alternative and assistor for the detection dog industry, however the interrelationship between these two detection paradigms requires clarification. These factors, when considering their relative contributions, illustrate a need to address research gaps, formalise the detection dog industry and research process, as well as take into consideration analytical methodologies and their influence on the future status of detection dogs. This review offers an integrated assessment of the factors involved in order to determine the current and future status of detection dogs.
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