EcoDogs doesn't just exist for the benefit of
project personnel. You too can 'rent' a trained
detection dog and handler team to search for ecological samples.
What can detection dogs be trained to find?
Anything that smells (to a dog, that's anything). For examples
of items that detection dogs have already been used to search
for, see the list at right or check out our
Detection dogs can greatly improve the
efficiency of a search; decreasing manpower and search time
while increasing detection success. However, limitations do
exist. If a target is relatively abundant, then the expense of
using detection dogs may not be warranted. For example, locating
coyote scat can be done fairly easily by humans searching along
roads. Thus, the use of detection dogs may not improve sample
sizes enough to justify their cost. Conversely, targets that are
extremely rare can also pose particular challenges for
detection-dogs; dogs can get bored if they never find the object
they are looking for. The use of detection dogs is often best to
find those objects that humans could find on their own, but
would take considerable effort.
The cost of renting dog and handler teams
varies depending on what you want to find (i.e., training
involved), whether we already have a dog trained to find the
target, the duration or intensity of the search, distance from
Auburn, and other services that may be provided. While the
rental of dog and handler teams is not cheap, the increase in
data collection rates means they they are often a good deal in
terms of cost/unit data collected.
In addition to providing dog and handler
teams, we can provide assistance with study design and/or data
analysis, or just conduct the whole study for you.
What do you want to find? To
discuss your needs, determine whether detection dogs would be
useful to you, or to get an estimate of costs,
send us an e-mail or contact Dr. Todd Steury at 334-844-9253.
As a part of Auburn University,
EcoDogs is strictly a not-for-profit project. All proceeds
generated from the rental of dog and handler teams are used to
maintain and train dogs, pay the salaries of project personnel,
and pay for expenses and research.
Targets our detection dogs have been
trained to find:
Scat from spotted skunk, mountain lion,
black bear, weasels, striped skunk, bobcat, gray fox, and
Live invasive pythons
Root fungi that infect pine trees
White-tailed deer antlers
detection dogs have been trained to locate by other
Scat from various animals - including the
Pacific pocket mouse
Live desert tortoises
Invasive weeds like spotted knapweed
Desert tortoise burrows
Seal dens (under 3 feet of snow)
Dead bats and birds under power lines and
Whale scat (floating on surface of the
water). Don't believe it?