85 Evaluation of the capability of oil specific discrimination in detection dogs

DeChant M.T., Bunker P.C., Hall N.J. (2024) Behavioural Processes, 216, art. no. 105014 DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2024.105014

ABSTRACT: Dogs are used for oil detection to support spill remediation and conservation, but little is known about the effects of weathering and aging of oil odorants on dogs’ ability to generalize and discriminate unweathered oil from aged/weathered tar ball oil. Three dogs were trained to detect unweathered oil odorant using a three-alternative choice procedure and automated olfactometers. We evaluated dogs’ ability to discriminate unweathered target oil from four different weathered/tar ball samples. All three dogs successfully discriminated the unweathered target oil from the four nontarget weathered oils with an accuracy of 96%, 97%, and 100%. After the oil discrimination test, dogs’ ability to discriminate unweathered target oil from novel natural odorants on a beach (plastic bottle lid, bird feathers, and rocks) was tested in a novel discrimination test yielding an accuracy of 95%, 100%, and 100%. These data suggest dogs are successful in discriminating unweathered oil from weathered oil with explicit training. 

Newsletter Subscription

Newsletter subscription

Download the latest Newsletters