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Bomb Sniffing Dogs See It As A Game

A military dog is trained to become desensitized to gun shots.

A military working dog's ability to detect an improvised explosive device (IED) could mean the difference between a safe patrol or horrible disfigurement and even death. Yet, for the dogs, the whole process of looking for bombs is taught as a game, according to National Geographic

After obedience training, working dogs are taught to recognize and respond to a range of scents that are often associated with explosives. 

Michael Paterniti, of National Geographic, writes that dogs: 

...  begin to practice an exercise known as "birding," which is designed to let the handler direct the dog's movements from a distance. First a handler unleashes the big dog training and orders it to move toward a hidden "bird launcher," a remote-controlled catapult loaded with a tennis ball. Adherence to voice commands and hand signals is crucial and often hard-won. When the dog comes close to the launcher, the handler triggers it, and the ball rockets into the air. The dog gives chase and returns the ball to the h
andler, who praises and pats the dog.

As dogs progress through these exercises, handlers begin to hide items that have been scented with explosive material in the surrounding area. The items are routinely placed both nearby and far away in order to train a dog to constantly scan its entire surroundings.

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