Sammy has helped investigate 500 fires – he sniffs to find if an accelerant has been used to start it. Now, he’s a finalist in the Hero Dogs award of the Dogs Trust. He sniffs for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
The BBC reports that:
Trainer Matt Jones, 32, of Usk, Monmouthshire, said before the Dogs Trust awards on Monday: “He is very passionate for his work.”
Sammy, who is eight, has lived with Mr Jones since he was one and has been trained by him to home in on a range of materials often used to start fires.
He can detect the presence of petrol, diesel, paraffin, white spirit, barbecue fluid, turpentine, acetone, lighter fluid and ethanol up to two weeks after a blaze.
Mr Jones said: “He gives a passive indication that something is there. He stares at what he has found. He is very accurate, to one or two inches.”
The dog’s ability is above what science can detect”
Crime scene investigators then take a sample from the area and put it through laboratory tests to determine which of the substances is present.
I picked up this story and picture from the New Zealand Herald News, reporter John Weekes, with thanks. Yet another springer spaniel sniffer dog job. That’s eight jobs and still counting. It’s great to see that the dog has a real Welsh name.
“New Zealand’s first ant-sniffing canine is training for battle against hordes of Argentine invaders.
Local biosecurity experts hope Welsh springer spaniel Rhys Jones will soon hunt Argentine ants.
“He’s about halfway through his training and he’s ticking all the boxes,” said Auckland Council biosecurity manager Jack Craw.
The dog’s trainer, Brian Shields, said Argentine ants were notorious for attacking native bird species.
Rhys Jones will work on finding pheremone trails the ants leave when moving from their nests to food sources. “When he smells one, he’ll sit and get a reward,” Shields said. ”
A great story from David Wilkes at the UK’s Daily Mail this week. Jack, the English springer spaniel sniffer dog, finding bombs in Afghanistan. And a terrific picture too!
Technically, they are called Arms and Explosives Search Dogs. To them, it’s all a bit of fun, with a reward – maybe a game or a bit of spoiling! For the soldiers though, it’s life and death. When Jack’s handler, Private Andrew Duff, sees Jack sit down, then it’s time for very great care. Patient sitting is a sign of a ‘find’, and time for the bomb disposal experts to be called in.
It takes 15 weeks to train a springer like Jack – and that’s just basic training, which develops focus and obedience. Then it’s out to the war theatre and several more weeks’ training.
There have been occasions when Andrew has been convinced that Jack’s training has saved his life.
I’ve written more about the jobs that springer spaniels carry out – it’s surprisingly varied, from security to preservation – both of wildlife and ancient buildings, and even helping hospital patients to get well. Check the links at the bottom.
Springer spaniels fill many roles – I have even seen one being used to herd pigs! Mostly though, people think of them as being used for hunting – flushing and retrieving game.
However, their exceptional noses, their agility and their high work rate, in combination give them a clear advantage over all other breeds. Also, they are compact in size. Imagine for a moment a survivor, trapped in an earthquake shattered building. The last thing such a person would want to see would be the nose of, say, a big German Shepherd dog poking through the rubble. That of a springer spaniel would be muck less intimidating.
I discovered seven different ways in which springers are used as sniffer dogs:
1. Explosives detection – a front line job finding buried roadside bombs, for example, they are widely used by the British Army. In a civilian role – security scanning – checking venues for concerts, sports events and so on where VIPs might be in attendance and explosives might be present.
2. Drug detection – they are used by the police, Customs and Excise, FDA and other agencies for checking cargoes, searching ships and planes, trucks, buses and cars.
3. Protecting wildlife – specifically, seeking out specfic endangered species – such as penguins – so that their population can be montitored.
4. Recently, it has been reported that they can detect lung cancer by smelling a sufferer’s breath. How this will develop in the future, who knows?
5. Tracking missing persons (though other dogs may also be used for this).
6. Detecting dead bodies – for example where a murder victim might be buried in the vicinity, the springer can find the exact location of the body.
7. Finding bodies underwater by detecting the smell on the surface of a lake or river. Amazing!
I’m sure that there are other uses, but it’s a shame that so many of these are linked with criminality, death and destruction!
Paddy – a great video example of a springer spaniel sniffer dog working. He can sniff one billionth of a gram of explosive, and is used to protect the Royal Family and for public events security in Wales.
Paddy , an Explosive detecting Springer Spaniel working at Public Events in Wales.
Shot for the series “Extraordinary Dogs”
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