There is an escalating crisis as high quality detection dogs are becoming increasingly hard to obtain. This crisis stems from 3 key issues:
Dramatic increase in demand for detection dogs
Replacement of current Department of Homeland Security detection dogs due to retirement and injuries is estimated at >300 dogs/year. New Federal legislation demands in excess of 400 additional canine detection teams. State and local governments as well as private organizations with infrastructure at risk are being encouraged to obtain canine detection teams and federal funds to support advancement of canine programs is limited.
Limited supply of detection dogs
A vast majority of the detection dogs employed in the US have been obtained from over extended European suppliers. Most dogs in the US currently are not bred for detection work, but this research will assist breeders with critical tools necessary to produce more dogs that embody the temperament and physical characteristics necessary to become successful detection dogs.
Lack of uniform standards for evaluating detection dog health or performance
There is inadequate scientific research to validate optimal training or testing methodology for detection dogs. Lack of uniformed standards for selection, training, and certifying have contributed to numerous reports of fraud or failed performance in detection dogs and delays in advancing the number of dogs able to serve. There is also a lack of uniform screening of canine medical and behavioral conditions that would preclude or shorten a working career
By unlocking the genetic code to successful detection dogs we can increase the number of dogs in the field serving their communities.
- Identify the behavioral and genetic traits necessary for successful detection dogs.
- Utilize these tools to improve domestic breeding of working lines and enhanced selection of breeding stock.
- Assist in identifying working dogs candidates from shelters and rescues.