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Methodological Considerations in Canine Olfactory Detection Research

By Lucia Lazarowski, Sarah Krichbaum, Lauryn E. DeGreeff, Alison Simon, Melissa Singletary, Craig Angle, L. Paul Waggoner

Category Journal Articles

Dogs are increasingly used in a wide range of detection tasks including explosives, narcotics, medical, and wildlife detection. Research on detection dog performance is important to understand olfactory capabilities, behavioral characteristics, improve training, expand deployment practices, and advance applied canine technologies. As such, it is important to understand the influence of specific variables on the quantification of detection dog performance such as test design, experimental controls, odor characteristics, and statistical analysis. Methods for testing canine scent detection vary influencing the outcome metrics of performance and the validity of results. Operators, management teams, policy makers, and law enforcement rely on scientific data to make decisions, design policies, and advance canine technologies. A lack of scientific information and standardized protocols in the detector dog industry adds difficulty and inaccuracies when making informed decisions about capability, vulnerability, and risk analysis. Therefore, the aim of this review is to highlight important methodological issues and expand on considerations for conducting scientifically valid detection dog research.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2020
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 7
Pages 17
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2020.00408
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal roles
  3. Canine scent detection
  4. Dogs
  5. Mammals
  6. olfaction
  7. open access
  8. Research
  9. Working animals
  1. open access