Some basic scenting concepts can help to best understand how to utilize the AU Vapor Wake Canine.
Figure 1. Air is distributed within a space
Figure 2. A room, or any volume of space, will have numerous odors within its volume. Specific items or surfaces will emit an odor within the space volume. The odor of the items will travel and be dispersed throughout the space dependent upon environmental factors of that space.
Figure 3. The dog sniffs the area to identify the various odors within that area. If the canine detects an explosive odor that it has been trained to identify the canine will go toward the source of that odor. Once the canine has identified the location of the source, it will give an indication to the handler.
The AU Vapor-Wake canine can be used in various detection scenarios. The Vapor-Wake Detection (VWD) Canine Team is a standard explosives detection canine team with the additional ability and training to detect carried or body-worn explosives. The VWD canine samples the plume of air coming off a person and/or what they are carrying as the person passes through a crowd or entry control point. The canines can also detect an explosives vapor-wake after the person has transited an area and follow the vapor-wake to the explosive source. The canines have been utilized successfully in areas with a large congestion of pedestrian traffic without impeding traffic flow.
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The canine is specifically bred and prepared its entire life to succeed at this type of work. The puppy enters the Detector Dog Raising Program upon birth. We engineer various environmental exposures and develop the puppy over the first 12 months of its life. We use primarily Sporting Breeds for this activity due to the close proximity to people the canine must work. Additionally, Sporting Breeds can operate within a crowd causing less, if not any, disruption. After the puppy, or now adult canine, completes the Detector Dog Raising Program it returns to the Auburn University (AU) Canine Detection Training Center (CDTC).
The canine receives six weeks of vigorous training at the Canine Detection Training Center before a handler is assigned. Upon the student/handler’s arrival they enter as a team into a 10-week basic explosives handler course. Upon graduating the basic course the team receives a minimum of two additional weeks of training in their operational environment. Continued training in the operational environment is critical to the team’s continued success.
Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine has several years of developing this program into what we feel is a strong and capable detection tool in the fight against terrorism. Additionally, we’ve developed evaluation procedures/guidelines for certification which ensure the team is performing at a high rate of proficiency. Our Vapor-Wake work is copy written and patent pending.