Title:
Canine certification method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A certification method for working canines which allows for quantified measurement of the canine's ability to detect scents at various levels. Said method employs standard scientific measures including the use of controls to verify the minimum level at which a canine can sense a particular scent including those generate by both illegal narcotics and explosive devices. The method is used to compare and determine a particular canine's ability as compared to other canines that have also been subject to the test. The method will allow handlers and other third parties the ability to evaluate the acuity of a each individual canine.



Inventors:
Habacivch, William T. (Mechanicsburg, PA, US)
Hartz, Theodore A. (Mohnton, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/987679
Publication Date:
06/04/2009
Filing Date:
12/04/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
119/421
International Classes:
A01K29/00; G01N33/00
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Primary Examiner:
WEARE, MEREDITH H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GATES, HALBRUNER & HATCH, P.C. (LEMOYNE, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method to certify an animal's acuity to detect scents at varying concentrations, comprising the steps of: a. using a sealed testing chamber, b. placing an animal in said sealed chamber; c. instructing the animal to signal or display when they detect a scent; d. introducing the scent into the chamber at low concentration; e. increasing the concentration of the scent in the chamber; f. observing the animal to detect the animal's signal or display, g. recording the level of scent concentration at which the animal displays, and, h. issuing a certification if the animal detected the scent at a predetermined threshold.

2. The method according to claim 1, in which said animal is a canine.

3. The method according to claim 2, in which the handler enters the chamber with the canine.

4. The method according to claim 3, in which an operator records the level of concentration at which the canine detects scent in a computer database.

5. The method according to claim 4, in which the scents used are those generated by explosives or controlled substances.

6. The method according to claim 5 in which said canine is a canine specifically trained to use its sense of smell to detect explosives, illegal drugs, narcotics and similar controlled substances.

7. The method according to claim 6, in which a separate chamber is used to permit the handler and canine the opportunity to acclimate to the space.

8. The method according to claim 7, in which a control of pure air is occasionally introduced to verify test results.

9. The method according to claim 8, in which statistical analysis is performed on the test results of various canines to determine a specific canine's relative ability.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OF DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not Applicable

INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The field of invention comprises a method of animal husbandry more particularly in the training and certifying canines for their acuity in locating and detecting scents.

2. Description of the Related Art

Canines have an acute sense of smell and have been used for many years to detect the presence of explosives, illegal drugs, narcotics and similar controlled substances. Trained canine teams are employed by the police, military, government agencies, and private firms. There is a wide range of training methods employed in the field and periodic certification of effectiveness is essential to the integrity of the industry. Certification is generally completed using trial searches for scent samples administered by the owners, trainers or suppliers of canines. There are no quantitative measurement standards that are employed in the field. The field tests are simply a pass/fail test where the canine either locates the scented object or does not locate the scented object.

Scent acuity has been measured in the laboratory but measurement techniques have not been employed on a regular basis in the field and have not been applied to the canine and handler team. The development of practical scent threshold testing will validate a canine's scent detection capability and training and determine the ongoing fitness of a canine for work.

The need for a method to accurately measure canine effectiveness in the field has increased for a variety of reasons including (i) increased safety concerns involving homeland security especially ports and public transportation, (ii) more fraudulent sales of untrained canines to government agencies, (iii) increased legal challenges to searches, (iv) advances in research in canine behavior, and (v) the potential for creating new training methods.

This invention is a method to certify the effectiveness of canine training for narcotics and explosives detection by measuring the scent threshold at which a trained canine signals the presence of the scent. The preferred embodiment is one which utilizes a commercially available dynamic olfactometer to measure the level of the scent at which the animal first detects the presence of a scent which it is trained to detect

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The current invention sets forth a certification method for working canines which allows for quantified measurement of the canine's ability to detect scents at various levels. Said method employs standard scientific measures including the use of controls to verify the minimum level at which a canine can sense a particular scent. The method is used to compare and determine a particular canine's ability as compared other canines that have also been subject to the test. The method will allow handlers and other third parties the ability to evaluate the acuity of a test subject canine.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, a commercially available olfactometer is employed to measure the level of the scent in a similar fashion to measurement techniques employed in agriculture and waste management. The typical procedure used to measure noxious odors employs humans reacting to a scent at varied threshold levels. The level, “odor value,” where the scent is detected is measured by the olfactometer. The “odor value” is reported as a dilution ratio of the volume of clean air to odorous air and is called an odor unit (ou.). The same technology is employed the present invention with the “odor value” recorded when the canine indicates or displays upon detecting the scent. Scent is administered at a low concentration level which is gradually increased to higher levels until the canine indicates its presence.

As part of the above method, the existence and level of scent in the testing chamber is verified before and after each certification examination by using a commercially available portable vapor detection device. This verifies that the chamber is “clean” prior to the next testing cycle. In addition, canine handlers and canines are tested prior to entering the chambers for each examination in order to ensure that the canine and handler are not carrying any particulate of an explosive, illegal drug, narcotic and similar controlled substance into the chamber. Further, as an element of the method at least one odor-free sample in each set of three samples is introduced to validate the effectiveness of the system. If a canine reacts to the odor-free sample, the test is considered invalid, certification is denied and retesting is required.

As an extension of the preferred embodiment, the testing and certification method is performed in a mobile testing laboratory which can be transported to the various locations where the working canines are housed for in the field certification.

As part of the preferred embodiment, the level at which each canine triggers on a particular scent is recorded in a computer database. Statistical analysis is then applied to the data to determine an individual canine's relative ability to detect a certain scent as compared to other canines. This information is then useful to quantify a given canine's ability to detect scents, which is useful in determining if the canine is able to be used as a bomb or drug canine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. is Part 1 of 2 of a block diagram of a system for evaluating and certifying the effectiveness of a canine's ability to detect certain scents and varying concentrations.

FIG. 2. is Part 2 of 2 of a block diagram of a system for evaluating and certifying the effectiveness of a canine's ability to detect certain scents and varying concentrations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to the figures, a system and method is herein described, shown and otherwise disclosed in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention. Broadly, the present invention concerns a system and method for certifying the olfactory acuity of a canine.

The preferred embodiment for the method of testing and certifying one or more animals' ability to detect a scent comprises the following steps:

1. The chamber is flushed of all air and filled with clean air. Clean air as defined in is air of such quality and character to have no impurities or contaminates that would cause the canine to scent on a false positive of the explosive, illegal drug, narcotic or similar controlled substance.

2. A dynamic olfactometer, of a type commercially available, is used to verify the quality and condition of air in chamber and to calibrate the olfactometer using known scent samples.

3. The canine and handler are permitted to enter a false chamber of similar size and construction to permit the canine to acclimate to the confined space.

4. The canine and handler exit the false chamber and enter actual chamber.

5. An audio/visual recording of the certification is initiated.

6. Using the dynamic olfactometer the chamber with the canine and handler inside is then verified to be a clean chamber without the presence of any impurities or contaminates by using the dynamic olfactometer.

7. An initial sample at a low concentration is injected into the chamber.

8. Gradually the concentration of the scent is raised to higher levels of concentration.

9. The operator observes the canine to determine at which point the canine displays or indicates the presence of the scent. A canine is trained to use many different means to display to its handler that an explosive, illegal drug, narcotic or similar controlled substance is present, including barking, pointing, sitting and similar behavioral makers all of which are capable of being observed by the operator on a video screen or through a transparent viewing port.

10. The minimum concentration level at which the canine displays is recorded in a computer database along with the name, breed and other relevant information regarding the canine. The concentration level, or “odor value,” where the scent is detected as measured by the olfactometer as a dilution ratio of the volume of clean air to odorous air. This concentration level is recorded in units of ou.

11. The audio/visual recording of the certification is terminated.

12. If the canine detected scent at the appropriate threshold level of ou's, the operator will issue a certificate of performance to the canine and handler along with an audio visual recording of the certification process.

13. Statistical analysis is applied to the data of all canines tested to establish mean level of detection for each scent, the minimum concentration detectable and other valuable information to assist in certifying future animals. Further, this statistical information can be used to adjust the threshold level as more data is gathered.

In the preferred embodiment the chamber in step one is an impermeable container having transparent or partially transparent sides to allow for viewing by the observer and large enough to comfortably accommodate a canine and handler.

It is contemplated within the preferred embodiment that this method will be repeated several times with the use of various samples. Further, to verify the accuracy of the test at random times no scent will be injected into the chamber to determine if the canine is properly sensing the scent. If the canine signals the presence of scent when none is present the canine will fail the certification process.

In the preferred embodiment, a separate mock testing chamber will be available to the canine and handler in order to allow both parties to become comfortable with the chamber prior to beginning the certification process.

In another embodiment of the invention is one in which all of the testing is conducted within a mobile testing unit. This will allow the certification to take place on location at canine training facilities, law enforcement facilities or any location where the canines are located or kenneled.