This Article is About
sniffer dogs
cancer diagnosis
healthy dogs
natural instinct
training dogs
shadow of a doubt
Sniffer Dogs – A Follow Up Story
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Sniffer Dogs – A Follow Up Story

When re-reading my article on Sniffer Dogs, and researching on the internet, the activity of training dogs for cancer diagnosis is receiving more and more attention. This, I consider tremendous, as anything that can aid in early detection of this dreaded disease, a bonus.

Now, no one can argue the fact, dogs, enjoy aiding the human race, the chronicles attesting to this are many and diverse, but what is the dog thinking? The chronicles of dogs saving people's lives from fires and drowning, surely proves that they can think. The success of sniffer dogs, discovering drugs and explosives at airports, others sniffing out food at Australia's customs points, dogs trained to lead the blind and to aid the disabled, proves beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we are dealing with a highly intelligent animal.

Has anyone stopped to think what is going on in the mind of the dog? The dog discovers explosives hidden in the suitcase of a terrorist at an airport, what's the first thing that happens? The dog receives a reward, when in training, a food titbit, and when trained, a toy or an item that shows the pleasure of the handler. The food titbits become less, as the dogs weight and health is now considered, fat dogs are not healthy dogs. The dog is probably disappointed, after all, the natural instinct of animals is food and water. But the dogs ambition is to please the handler, his excitement captivating, and when demonstrated, the dog is happy.

If the opportunity arises for you to watch these dogs in action, watch carefully, an item discovered, the dog receives it's toy, the handler however creates a scene of excitement and the dog will bound around toy in mouth. What is it thinking? “I'm going to get food. I'm going to get food.” and a little later when none is forthcoming “no food! what do I have to do for those titbits of old?”

We as humans, tell the small untruths, on occasions, when work requires avoiding for a day. “Sorry, not feeling well today, will not make it into work, probably tomorrow.” all pronounced with a false voice depicting flu. The Boss knows it is not true, but will not argue the point, he might be proven wrong. What of the dog, wakes to a bad day “Here we go again sniffing bags all day for little or no reward, don't feel like playing with that darn toy today, can't I have a day off?” The handler arrives, fastens the dogs leash, probably pats the dog and asks if the dog is ready for work. “ No I'm not!” the prompt reply, but is the message understood? No, they will go to work and do their duty, unaware the dog is not in the mood. The dog naturally performs his duty, as they are happy, when the handler becomes so excited at a discovery.

The point I want to make, how will the Doctor or Oncologist demonstrate the pleasure of discovery. It would be bad taste to jump up and down with excitement, imagine you are the patient, and the Doctor is smiling and prancing around to demonstrate his felicity for the dog, or dishing out titbits or toys. They then have to turn to you, and with a straight and grim face tell you, “I am so sorry to tell you, but you have cancer.”

“What cancer have I got? How will we treat it? What's next?” These being the natural questions and reaction to being told you have the dreaded disease.

“Don't know yet, we will now have to investigate further. But Isn't it a good dog?”

I think the natural reaction to that question, is probably best behind the closed doors of the examination room.

Street Talk

Sniffer Dogs, training dogs for cancer diagnosis just continue to show just how awesome dogs are that they just people with four legs.

  about 7 years ago

such true words spoken! I study animal behaviour, and their intelligence is shown daily, the smallest of nuances that the show can tell you so much

  about 7 years ago
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