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.

The CPS mission is to innovate canine detection technology by exploring basic and applied research frontiers in olfaction, behavior, genetics, and physical performance.

CPS scientists play a vital role in increasing the capabilities of the canine technology for a variety of uses, such as conservation and medical detection. CPS investigates new frontiers in olfaction, neuroscience, genetics, and physical performance by exploring the many scientific disciplines that make up canine performance science. Those disciplines include experimental psychology, behavior, neurology, biophysics, biomechanics, nutrition, exercise physiology, genetics, theriogenology, engineering, chemistry, and biology. CPS’ network of scientists conduct both basic and applied research to advance the canine technology. CPS’ two main specialty areas are in advancing working dog capabilities and breeding superior working dogs. Please contact us to learn more about our research programs.

Breeding Program

The mission of the CPS breeding program is to scientifically breed and develop superior quality canines that can be utilized for a variety of detection purposes. Our network of scientists are advancing a dog’s olfactory and performance capabilities, making them some of the most advanced detection dogs in the world.

Superior detection dogs are hard to find. CPS breeds and develops canines to possess specific traits. These dogs must have a high reward value, willing to search for long periods of time for multiple rewards. They must have high hunt instincts, their nose is always stimulating them to investigate. They need high trainability characteristics, which give them the ability to learn any new tasks quickly. They must be highly motivated and not easily discouraged. They must be attentive and be able to work in any environment and, most importantly, CPS dogs must be medically sound. We are producing scientifically bred and trained canines to become the best detection dogs possible.

CPS follows state-of-the-art theriogenology practices, incorporating genetic and genomic concepts to influence breeding selection and enhance puppy development. These practices ensure CPS is making genetic progress. CPS puppies attend the program’s 11-month ‘puppy school’, where they are socialized and learn to investigate for reward before being sold to detection dog vendors. Dogs undergo constant evaluations to tailor their development and training program for their future work placement, giving them the greatest advantage to succeed.


Community and campus volunteers are needed during the week. Volunteers are needed to care for dogs and puppies, as well as exercise, train, and socialize puppies or work with adult dogs.

Volunteers are screened and placed to work in different areas of need.

Volunteers must:

  • be a U.S. citizen
  • be at least 19 years of age
  • be able to commit at least three hours one day a week

Contact CPS at to learn how to become a CPS volunteer.

EcoDogs Program

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. CPS canines have found underground microscopic tree root fungi, scat from a variety of species, invasive Burmese Pythons in the Florida Everglades, and more. Whether looking for trace amounts of a biological material, chemical pollutants, or tracking a dynamic animal, if it has an odor, CPS dogs can find it. They have extraordinary capabilities and can efficiently locate a target of interest in an unbiased manner.

CPS scientists understand scientific design and can give input on data collection procedures utilizing dog teams. We educate clients on how to utilize dogs to maximize data collection, increase sample size, and minimize our footprint in the ecosystem.

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, the wind, extreme temperatures and other conditions that can enhance or degrade detection. There are target challenges — those found underground, in thick vegetation, are microscopic, are predators that have defense mechanisms, have different diets, and those constantly changing scent signature. CPS builds comprehensive, highly specialized programs that focus on ways to maximize sample size and experimental design. Interested in utilizing detection dogs to find targets of interest;  contact us to learn how we can help.

Help Raise a Hero Campaign

Support starts with you!

CPS dogs have saved lives at home and abroad. The preservation and advancement of CPS breeding and research programs depends on donors and supporters. Your generous donation will be used to raise canine heroes and to help fund the innovation of canine detection technology.

Please donate to Canine Performance Sciences. Your support will maintain our program’s legacy of creating
Man’s Best Friend. Man’s Best Defense.

Online giving to Canine Performance Sciences
Area of Interest: College of Veterinary Medicine
Gift Designation: Canine Performance Sciences
or contact the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Advancement Office at 334-844-1254 or

Who We Are

L. Paul Waggoner, Ph.D.
Phone: (334) 844-4237

Assistant Director
Melissa Singletary, DVM, PhD, DACVPM.
Phone: (334) 844-4237

Contact Us

Canine Performance Sciences
104 Greene Hall
Auburn, AL 36849
Phone: (334) 844-5646