It takes a special kind of canine to be a sniffer dog that can detect ivory and rhino horn at busy airports and seaports. Does your dog have what it takes? Take this quiz and find out!
1. My pup’s age is…
■ A. Younger than 18 months.
■ B. Between 18 and 36 months.
■ C. Between 3 and 6 years.
■ D. Just a number. He’s young at heart, and that’s what’s most important.
2. My dog weighs…
■ A. Less than 20 lbs.—she’s small but acts big!
■ B. Between 20 and 55 lbs.
■ C. Over 55 lbs. but under 80 lbs.
■ D. More than I do.
3. If I were to describe my dog’s personality, I’d say s/he…
■ A. Qualifies as an Alpha—he’s the boss and don’t you tell him otherwise.
■ B. Is a cautious sort, but once she gets to know you, she’s friendly.
■ C. Is a bit of an introvert—she prefers her own company to others’.
■ D. Loves a party—he’s a happy, social guy.
4. When it comes to playing fetch, my dog…
■ A. Will drop his toy when I tell him to, but not until then.
■ B. Will fetch once—and then will refuse to let go of her toy.
■ C. Is great! She retrieves the ball, then drops it at my feet and eagerly awaits the next throw.
■ D. Cannot care less. Whenever we play fetch, it feels like he’s doing me a favor.
5. My dog’s concentration is…
■ A. Scary. When he’s focused, nothing can distract him.
■ B. Pretty good. She’ll notice when things happens around her but will then go back to whatever she was focused on.
■ C. Dependent on his mood and the object.
■ D. Who am I kidding? She pretty much has doggie ADD.
Did you answer the following?
1. B and 2. C Age, weight and breed are particularly important for sniffer dogs: They need to be able to focus but have a lot of energy and drive, and be able
to get into and out of certain spaces.
3. D The dogs need to be confident but must also have happy, open personalities and get along with different people and other dogs.
4. A Sniffer dogs must have a high drive for finding and playing with toys—and only release a toy on command.
5. A or B It’s OK for dogs to react to people or noise, but an easily distracted dog will not make the cut. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds tend to have the drive and concentration to keep working under a variety of conditions and distractions, and those are the breeds that CSSI typically chooses.
If your dog fits this profile, congratulations! S/he may have what it takes to be a wildlife crime-fighting sniffer dog!
Supported by African Wildlife Foundation www.awf.org