Canines are easy to work with and have extraordinary olfactory systems.
Dogs possess anywhere from 125 million to 220 million olfactory cells as compared to only 5 million for humans. According to that dogs can smell one part per million. They also have a special chamber in their nose that traps and collects the air so it can be examined more closely. In addition, dogs possess a gland that moistens the air causing the odor to strengthen.
A dog’s nose is so adapted to its work that it can smell objects under water. Dogs don’t become accustomed to surrounding odors. They can search for a long period of time and still distinguish between different odors. Canines are capable of retaining the learning of upwards of twenty different odors.
Dogs do not need to be in the immediate proximity of a substance to detect it. A canine can detect
the odor of an explosive or drug from several hundred yards away.
Compared the accuracy and speed of detection dogs to that of detection machines or human visual and physical searches each time, the dog was the fastest and most accurate.
Dogs are also mobile. In some cases, a dog can get to a suspicious package in an inconvenient location where it could not easily be checked by equipment. For example : incident involving a large public event, the dogs are able to get to the packages more efficiently than could a person carrying a hand-held x-ray machine, and they are more quickly able to determine that the packages presented no risk.
Similarly, dogs can easily go to a temporary location or to an outside site. For example, dogs can be used to check delivery trucks before they enter the loading area.
In addition, canines do not malfunction. Some locations, for that reason, use dogs to supplement x-ray equipment. When an x-ray machine breaks down, the canine can serve as a readily available backup.
Detection dogs have proven their usefulness in a wide range of settings from airports to combat operations. Companies should consider these versatile, reliable animals as an efficient and cost-effective way to safeguard their personnel and property from explosives.
All existing attempts to duplicate these “animal” sensors with electronic technology have had limited success. The problem is that only an animal can smell in the higher (scent) regions necessary to detect explosives.
The dog is not a substitute for other means of detection but the dog can do something which no other detector can do, namely differentiate between metals and explosives. A metal detector can give several thousand responses over just a small area. But the dog reacts only to the explosive substance.