What is a Cadaver Dog?
Cadaver dogs, also known as human remains detection (HRD) dogs, detect the scent of decomposing human flesh, bones, and blood and then alert their handlers to the location exact location at which the scent is detected. Cadaver dogs are trained to detect a variety of scents associated with human remains, and are trained to detect remains buried deep underground, above ground, or even in water.
Training a Cadaver Dog
- Introduce the Scent - Many dogs naturally dislike cadaver scent, so this must be done carefully and slowly, with attention paid to the dog's behavior.
- Build Motivation - Now you have to teach the dog the game and to make it something the dog enjoys. This can be done with food or with toys - the dog needs to become comfortable working at a distance from his handler and approaching strangers.
- Introduce Land Features - Scent behaves strangely around different land features, especially on ridges and in canyons. Dogs and handlers both need to learn how to work through these obstacles.
- Introduce Buried Cadaver - Dogs are taught to detect cadaver buried deep under the ground. This is done using a methodology that ensures the dog learns to detect cadaver scent, not the scent of disturbed dirt.
- Build Endurance and Focus - Practice areas gradually get larger and harder. Intentional distractions such as other dogs, people, and dead wildlife (typically roadkill) are added.