This is Man’s Best Friend. Man’s Best Defense.
Canine Performance Sciences (CPS) is the successor of a research effort that began in 1990 at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Presently, CPS makes advancements through research that protect and serve national and local communities by countering threats — specifically explosive, narcotic, biological, and ecological threats — through man’s best defense, detection canines.
CPS conducts necessary canine detection research. Our scientists play a vital role in increasing the technology that gives man’s best defense the capabilities necessary to protect and defend our citizens. Our research programs have created new limits to canine capabilities such as virus detection, GPS-guided dogs, underground microscopic fungi detection, Vapor Wake dogs, IDD detection dogs, and much more.
CPS Canines are the ultimate real-time mobile detection system that protects, defends, and serves The United States of America. CPS canines are Man’s Best Friend and Man’s Best Defense.
CPS Research Programs
Detection canines are the pinnacle of mobile detection technology, far exceeding the capabilities of any man-made technology. Throughout our 25-year history, CPS has made ground-breaking and industry-changing scientific advancements in canine performance. These new advancements have served the national and international communities by countering explosive, narcotic, biological, and ecological threats. We have created new limits to canine capabilities such as virus detection, GPS guided dogs, underground microscopic fungi detection, Vapor Wake dogs, IDD detection dogs, and much more. Our program is an international leader in scientifically understanding the physical, physiological, and psychological performance characteristics of working dogs. We view those performance characteristics as canine technologies that can be further enhanced or developed to increase detection of significant targets. Most importantly, our technologies are effective and have been utilized in government and private industries around the world. The CPS research program is an important international asset that pushes the envelope in detection technology.
The Metcalf Veterinary Sports Medicine Program (VSMP) is organized under the Canine Performance Sciences program (CPS) and supports the CPS mission by understanding and improving canine performance. The VSMP is dedicated to understanding how to optimize performance in athletic and working dogs. Performance is an equation which can be broken down into factors that can increase or decrease the dog’s ability to perform. We are internationally recognized as experts in being able to break performance down into its component parts, look for strengths and weaknesses, and then design highly specialized programs to optimize the performance. We also utilize this knowledge to develop robust experimental research designs to study operational capabilities. Our goal through research and development is to continually improve the operational capabilities of athletic and working dogs.
VSMP is not just scientists, but is composed of individuals that train and work dogs every day. Real world operational experience gives us an intricate working knowledge of the dog and how it performs. This intricate working knowledge allows us to understand how the physical, physiological, and psychological systems in the dog’s body are integrated. A decrease in one system’s function can affect the function of other systems. This causes a cascade of events that can decrease performance. Our focus is on enhancing a dog’s body as a whole in order to optimize performance. We evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the dog in specific deployment missions and the job skills required to perform that mission. We analyze the terrain, climate, feeding practices, duty cycles, rest/recovery strategies, hydration, acclimatization periods, transportation, operational tempo, and more. This allows us to understand the physical, physiological, and psychological requirements of the dog’s mission and provide a more detailed program or research study design. The VSMP and its affiliates are constantly trying to expand the envelop of canine capabilities to further increase the operational performance of the athletic and working dog.
The EcoDogs program is a strategic partnership between CPS and the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. The EcoDogs program was established to detect plant and animal species in the field for the benefit of ecological research, management, and conservation. Canines are the most efficient and sensitive mobile detection system on the planet. Our canines have found underground microscopic tree root fungi, Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus in cattle, scat from a variety of species, invasive Burmese Pythons in the Florida Everglades, and more. Whether you are looking for trace amounts of a biological material, chemical pollutants, or tracking a dynamic animal, if it has an odor, we can find it. We can find what you can’t see, because you can’t hide odor. Our dogs have extraordinary capabilities and can efficiently locate your target of interest in an unbiased manner.
We are scientists who understand scientific design and can give input on data collection procedures utilizing our dog teams. We educate our clients on how to utilize the dogs to maximize data collection, increase sample size, and minimize our footprint in the eco system.
Ecological targets present unique challenges because each target has different characteristics and variables that make detection difficult. There are many environmental challenges such as mountainous terrain, weather, thick vegetation, wind, extreme temperatures and many other conditions that can enhance or degrade detection. There are many target challenges such as some targets are underground, in thick vegetation, are microscopic, are predators that have defense mechanisms, have different diets, and they have a constantly changing scent signature. Our experience in overcoming these challenges and our experience in remote military operations has strengthened our program and allowed us to better serve our clients. We build comprehensive highly specialized programs that focus on ways to maximize your sample size and experimental design. If you are interested in utilizing detection dogs to find your target of interest, please contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.
The mission of the CPS Breeding Program is to breed and develop superior quality canines that can be utilized for a variety of purposes, including detection of explosives, biological substances, or anything identified as threats to local or national security as well as the environment.
Superior detection dogs are hard to find. CPS breeds and develops canines to possess specific traits. Our dogs must have a high reward value, which means they are willing to search for long periods of time for multiple rewards. They must have high hunt, which means their nose is always stimulating them to investigate. They need high train-ability assets, which give them the ability to learn any new tasks quickly. They have to be highly motivated and not get discouraged easily. They must be attentive and be able to work in any environment and, most importantly, our dogs must be medically sound. We are producing scientifically bred and trained canines to become the best detection dogs possible.
We follow state-of-the-art theriogenology practices, incorporating genetic and genomic concepts to influence breeding selection and enhance puppy development. CPS puppies attend our “puppy school” and have evaluations conducted at three, six, 10, and 12 months of age. Based on their evaluation, we tailor their training program or work placement, so each canine has the greatest advantage to succeed. All puppies are individually screened, monitored and trained.
Puppies in the CPS breeding program leave the nursery at six weeks of age and begin training in specific socialization programs until they are six months old. Volunteers, Auburn University students, and community members assist in the puppy’s training and socialization. We focus on each canine’s early months because they are critical, and the training lays the foundation for the future.
From six to 10 months, puppies are placed with prison system who partner with CPS, where canines are paired with screened and trained inmates. The duo participate in a monitored curriculum for initial detector dog training. Between 11 to 12 months of age, the canines return to Auburn where they complete advanced training.
CPS is devoted to improving the way that humans and dogs interact through our development programs, and through interaction with the local community. CPS has a number of programs designed to enrich the interactions that we share with dogs, both in work and play.
Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half are children. One in five dog bites results in injuries serious enough to require medical attention. Among children, the rate of dog bite–related injuries is highest for those age 5 to 9.
CPS conducts Dog Bite Prevention classes at local elementary schools. This program gives canines additional socialization training opportunities, and engages children to teach them how to prevent and protect themselves from dog bites.
Community and campus volunteers are needed during the week. Volunteers are need to care for dogs and puppies, as well as exercise, train and socialize puppies or work with adult detector or service dogs.
Volunteers are screened and placed to work in different areas of need. Volunteer sessions are held at our main offices in the Gilmer-Turnham Building (located across from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine) or other sites.
- be 19 years of age, unless they are participating in a university-sanctioned class or special event.
- be able to commit at least two hours one day a week.
- have completed IACUC training and requirements.
- have proof of a current tetanus shot.
Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to learn about the CPS program, and is good experience for the student who just loves dogs or who is developing experiences for a future career.
CPS, a division of the College of Veterinary Medicine, has collaborated with the School of Kinesiology to develop a cardio-respiratory physical education fitness class. Auburn University students can register for the two-hour credit class. Students in this class are working with CPS puppies to help build the foundation for detection dogs. In this class, students exercise, train and socialize the puppies.
Support all Starts with YOU!
Our dogs have saved tens of thousands of military and civilian lives. They continue to serve mankind by being the ultimate deterrent against foreign and domestic acts of terror.
Our program is self-supporting. The preservation of our research and breeding program lies in the hands of our donors.
Please donate to help support our breeding and research programs. Your donation will ‘Help Raise a Hero’ detection canine and fund research programs to improve man’s best defense that serves and protects the citizens of The United States of America.
Area of Interest: College of Veterinary Medicine
Gift Designation: “Canine Performance Sciences”
Contact: The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Development office at 334/844-1254 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The CPS Team