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Evidence-based methods to optimise medical detection potential

Medical Detection Dogs is the UK’s pioneer charity training and researching medical detection and alert dogs. As the usage of dogs in medical roles increases, it is vital that we use robust evidence-based methods to monitor and optimise performance. In this talk, we describe a programme of research examining a variety of systems for training and quantifying ability. We discuss the value of an 8-stand carousel, a 4-stand linear array and a binary “yes-no” paradigm for cancer detection dogs. We describe a novel pressure plate device which shows great promise in discerning the relative certainty of a dog’s response when encountering an odour. In addition, we have investigated the spontaneous sniffing behaviour of trained dogs when presented with target and non-target samples. The pattern of sniffing shows significant differences; hence by monitoring sniffing behaviour we can potentially improve our understanding and recognition of canine alerting behaviour.

Guest, Claire - CEO: Medical Detection Dogs