There’s no questioning the incredible powers of the canine sense of smell. From narcotics detection, to accelerant detection, sniffer dogs have put their powerful noses to work for police forces all over the world. While humans have approximately 5 million olfactory receptors to detect different scents, canines have over 250 million. This incredible ability to detect minute scents has recently been put towards the unexpectedly useful skill of detecting cell phones.
Just as chemicals and narcotics have a unique scent that dogs are able to pick up on, the plastics and component materials in cell phones also leave minute scents. Cell phone detection dogs are trained to pick up on these minute traces, and indicate the location of discovered cell phones to their handlers. While this is not necessarily useful in a public scenario, cell phones are one of the most common forms of contraband in prison. Convicted criminals smuggle in cell phones to help them organize outside crimes, promote smuggling, plan escapes and riots, or worse.
The breeds of dog most commonly used as cell phone detection dogs are common working breeds such as the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd. This is due to that fact that these breeds are both widely available for use by police forces as well as being extremely intelligent, obedient and efficiently trained.
While narcotics detection dogs have been used by prison officials for years, cell phone detection dogs have only just begun to make an appearance, with the first use of a cell phone detection dog taking place in 2006. Hopefully, these dogs will be continue to help prison officials prevent crime for years to come.