Sniffer Dog Training: how to train your dog to be a sniffer dog?

Have you ever wondered how sniffer dog training works to find criminals at the crime scene? It’s very simple: by sniffing. They are called Detection or Sniffer Dogs. Trained to identify people and substances by the senses such as explosives, illicit drugs, and blood;

Almost always a sense of smell, which is two thousand times stronger and fifty times more sensitive than a human. In addition to sensitivity, the dog’s sense of smell is very sharp.

sniffer dog training
San Francisco International Airport, California, USA.

He can detect a specific odor; That means he can spot cheese at a fish and vegetable market a thousand miles from where it stands. Hunting dogs searching for game and dog searching for missing humans are generally not considered as sniffer dogs.

Not to be outdone, they learn two types of warnings: passive and aggressive. Drug dogs use aggressive alertness where they dig in and dig into the odorous area. On the other hand, there are some instances where this kind of warning is bad news. Putting the bombs in an inserted position and scratching is very deadly. In these cases, a passive warning is used.

sniffer dog training
An explosives and drug-sniffing police dog investigating a abandoned suitcase.

A good example of this type is the beagles used by the Department of Agriculture in sniffer dog training, where dogs are trained to pull out produce that is not allowed to enter the country. The Beagle Brigade, as they are called, sniff people’s luggage while waiting in lines at airports and border crossings.

In other countries, it is also used in some emergency search operations. Since the dog no one likes to dig their belongings, the USDA Beagles are trained to sit when they can smell it.

You can find a quality dog breeder for beagles from KandD Beagles.

Also Read: Irish wolfhound and German shepherd Mix: Complete Guide before Adopting.

In the early stages of sniffer dog training, the sniffer dog will receive a reward when it demonstrates any kind of recognition of the target scent. As the dog’s skills progress, the reward is given only when the dog responds with the right reaction (e.g. sit, stand, stare, down, bark, etc.).

sniffer dog training

Trainers have come up with a strategy for dogs that can be used to take drugs out. In the odd cases, it feels like eating them when they find the illegal substance. Are they addicted to those drugs? In fact, dogs are completely uninterested in drugs. What they are really looking for is their favorite toy.

In an article found on, the most commonly used “toys” are white towels. Since dogs love to play this powerful game of tug-of-war, they came up with the idea of ​​a “white towel game”.

To begin sniffer dog training, the handler plays with the dog using a towel, which is vacuumed and carefully washed without scent to the trainee. Next, the marijuana bag, for example, is wrapped inside a towel.

After playing for a while, the dogs begin to recognize the smell of drugs as their favorite toy smell. The handler then hides the towels, with the shawl, in various places. Whenever the dog takes out drugs, he tries to get his toy. If he detects the smell of drugs, as soon as he finds them, he is rewarded with a tug-of-war game.

As training progresses, various drugs are placed on the towel so the dog can take out the illicit substances. The same method is used for bomb detection dogs, except for placing various chemicals used to make explosives in towels instead of drugs.

Sniffer Dog Training Breeds

Not every dog is suitable for sniffing and also some dogs are very aggressive and must be handled by only one handler.

Here is the list of dogs that are suitable for Sniffing

  1. German Shepherd
  2. Doberman
  3. Labrador
  4. Beagle
  5. Rottweiler
  6. Golden Retriever

How long does it take to train a sniffer dog

A dog which has to undergo the sniffer training must have cleared the basic obedience training and post that he could get into the sniffer dog training. The hard fact is that, dogs must get habituated to learn new things and should take pleasure out of that and that is the reason, we often treat them for every good behavior.

So it would take 2 to 3 months to completely training a dog to be a perfect sniffer dog.

Sniffer Dog Training courses

There are plenty of online courses available either Udemy or YouTube for the sniffer trainings, you can subscribe for one and try out.

Here is one Youtube

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