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Recent News > AHPP News > CNN's Anderson Cooper features Auburn Vapor Wake canines

The Ultimate Bomb-Sniffing Dogs

May 25, 2013

Last Updated 1 Year(s) ago

By Randi Kaye, CNN

Auburn, Alabama —

Since the deadly Boston bombings, there’s been a lot of talk about what could have been done to prevent the attack. Bomb-sniffing dogs swept the area twice before runners crossed the finish line, according to the Boston Globe.  “Dogs are not in infallible,"  Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told the newspaper. “With such a crowd, the dog can't check every individual and package,” he added. But researchers at Auburn University are training what may be the ultimate bomb sniffing dogs. Here’s the AC360 411 on the so-called Vapor Wake Dogs:

  • These highly-trained dogs have the ability to detect odor coming off a bag or bomb as someone carries it, and can follow the plumes of air – or vapor wake- stretching several football fields.
  • The dogs are teamed with specially trained handlers to detect explosives without invading a person’s privacy.
  • Auburn has its own breeding program for bomb sniffing dogs, where researchers lean more on Labradors and Spaniels.
  • At birth, a puppy enters Auburn’s detector dog rearing program.
  • Over the next 12 months, it is exposed to various engineered environmental conditions.
  • After completing the detector dog rearing program, the canine returns to the Auburn University Canine Detection Training Center for: six weeks of vigorous training, ten-week basic explosives course with handler, and an additional two-plus weeks of training with handler in operational environment
  • Only two or three out of 10 dogs make it per class.
  • Auburn is home to the largest dedicated canine detection research program in U.S. and its training center is one of the largest training programs outside the federal government.
  • Auburn's bomb dogs are used at airports, on Amtrak trains and by police departments.
  • The part of a canine brain devoted to analyzing smells is 44 times larger than that of a human.
  • Each dog costs upwards of $20,000.

See the CNN story here. 

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