Rapid Scent Imprinting for Detection Dogs

For detection dogs to be effective they need to learn and remember odours when deployed. It would be advantageous to determine the most efficient method of training dogs to discriminate a new odour.  There was previously no scientifically validated evidence to demonstrate how long it takes dogs to reliably learn an odour, or how long they’re able to remember that odour after limited training. The aim of this work was to understand the minimum training required for dogs to learn an odour, and understand how training time affects dogs’ ability to remember odours up to 1 month later.

This preliminary study has shown that dogs can learn and remember an odour for up to 1 month following as little as 20 minutes of training (13 rewards) on that target odour. This has important implications for rapidly training dogs on new substances in response to new operational requirements.

Authors: V Martin, S Muckelt, L Burton, B Hutchings