How Do I Train My Dog to Find Drugs?

Since the ancient days, people used dogs to help them in day-to-day duties like hunting and gathering. Thanks to state-of-the-art training, dogs are now an integral part of human lives since they perform more tasks rather than offering companionship.

With the right practice, a dog can act as a search and rescue dog, guide dog, and a sniffer dog. Furthermore, some qualify to become members of police dogs tasked with sniffing out illegal products, tracking criminals, and doing other duties of police officers.

All dogs can be trained to become sniffer dogs. However, some dogs like German shepherds are natural retrievers; thus, training them can be an easy task compared to other companion dogs. Sniffer dogs are of great importance when it comes to sniffing out drugs at airports, borders, and crime scenes.

Dogs tend to have a very high sensitive sense of smell, and their sense of smell is always picky, making it easy for them to sniff out drugs. For instance, smugglers can wrap drugs using different kinds of scents, but sniffer dogs will always find the drug quickly.

Furthermore, most sniffer dogs are not only taught to retrieve narcotics or illegal substances but also prevent criminals from running away.

When well trained, German Shepherds are fast and robust compared to humans; thus, they will be able to apprehend lawbreakers until the authorities arrive. For this reason, sniffer dogs have earned an exceptional place in the police department.

Training the dog to be a sniffer dog

The period of training a dog to be an excellent sniffer dog ranges from 2-3 months, depending on the breed of the dog. If the dog is healthy, it can work as a retriever for a period of ten years, that is if it has the desire to work.

The standard breed used to act as sniffer dogs are Labradors, Springer Spaniels, German shepherd, and Golden Retrievers.

The dogs help in retrieving illegal substances such as heroin, meth, cocaine, LSD, and ecstasy. Besides that, they can also retrieve abused medication such as Xanax, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone. Retrievers also help in retrieving gunpowder based items such as guns, bombs, and ammunition.

When the dog finds any substance, it will tend to sit next to the scent and alert the master of any content. Some dogs will go to the extent of retrieving the essence themselves without the help of their master.

Training should start when the dog is between nine months and two years old. At this age, the dog tends to be obedient and always has a very high urge to learn new things. Before training your dog to be a retriever, you will have to teach them basic commands that they will use in public places.

Training dogs to detect drugs needs real drug samples; therefore, you will need certification and licensing by respective law authorities. Below are the various ways that you can use to train your dog.

The toy method

1. Play with the dog

Dogs love playing with their masters using their favorite toys. You can take this as an advantage and decide to train your dog using their toys. What you have to do is come up with a specific toy and give the dog an incentive for elementary obedience directives.

2. Start hiding the toy

After the dog has become addicted to the boy, hide the toy in a box, and teach the dog to find it. At first, make it easy for the dog to find the toy by hiding it in accessible locations.

You can also let the dog see where you are hiding the toy so that it can be easy for the dog to retrieve the toy. As time goes on, change the hiding locations, making it more challenging for the dog to retrieve the toy.

3. Hide the toy together with the drugs

After the dog has learned to retrieve the toys, start hiding the toys together with the drug, you want it to extract. Always put in mind that dogs have a picky smell instinct; thus, never place different drugs together.

You can decide to wrap the toy with the drug, hide the doll with the drug, or conceal the toy with the drug. Then order your dog to find the toy. The dog will then be addicted to the scent of the drug using the toy.

After finding the specific toy, play with the dog using the toy as appreciation. After that, improve the complexity of the toy hiding it in a more sophisticated location.

4. Gradually remove the toy

After some weeks of training using the toy, remove the toy, and hide the drug alone, commanding the dog to find it. After the dog retrieves the drug scent, remove the toy, and start playing with the dog.

Increase the complexity of the hiding place and bring in distractions such as other scents. However, remember to appreciate the dog when it succeeds but ignore fruitless identification.

The signal method

1. Teach signal

Teach the dog the signals that it will use to indicate the drugs like, bow or sit. You can use a clicker to capture the behavior and a hand signal to order the dog.

2. Incorporate the drug in the training

Add a strong scent such as vanilla, peanut butter, or cheese to the training to make it useful. When you introduce the fragrance to the dog, ensure that you signal it to sit or bow.

Do this for some days or weeks, rewarding the dog with play toy or food. Remove the command signals gradually in the training process, but ensure that you reward the dog.

3. Hide the container

Hide the container in a box and teach your dog how to find the container. But first, ensure that you hide the drug vessel at a comfortable finding place. Gradually, increase the complexity of hiding the vessel and, at the same time, introduce distractions.

4. Remove the gifts and clicker

After making the training complex, remove the gifts and clicker gradually. However, always make sure that you still appreciate the dog to keep it motivated.

1 thought on “How Do I Train My Dog to Find Drugs?

  1. Kristina Greenwell

    I am so happy to say that my dog is FINALLY fully trained! I found out about this online dog training tool at – it has been such a wonderful help in learning how to train my dog without ever leaving home. I learned so many great ways to teach my dog nearly every trick imaginable. Also, I can finally correct common behavioral issues, anywhere from potty-training to barking too much. It’s an actual man who’s a real dog trainer training his dog. He’s an expert so you can see his mannerisms and changes in his tone of voice… especially his body language. My dog behaves PERFECTLY now and picked up on these methods so fast. From what I understand, this will work on all dogs regardless of breed or age. Best of luck to you and your dog! Check out – highly recommended!


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