Cadaver Scent Dog Training
For the Family Dog
Cadaver dogs find our loved ones after they have passed away. This sad aspect of disaster relief brings closure to the search in ways that one can’t comprehend until they experience it. Most people experience a sense of relief that is mixed with disbelief and an overwhelming feeling of loss.
Depending on the incident or disaster, the search for a cadaver signals hope is gone for finding a live subject. Often, to much time may have gone by for a person to survive or the disaster was on a grand scale with many causalities that put the odds of survival very low.
In the event of a disaster our biggest fear is finding our loved ones after their death and this is not an easy subject for many people to cope with or face.
A person can prepare themselves for this horrible possibility by training their dog to find cadaver scent so that they can tend to a loved one’s afterlife and bring closure to the search for that person.
A Cadaver is a human body after death. The body begins to change how it smells immediately at death in ways only a dog can detect. Depending on environmental factors the scent or odor can become apparent to a person within a couple of hours after death. Sometimes longer, for instance if a body is frozen then we humans can not smell it but a dog can.
Training your dog to find the cadaver scent will result in your dog finding all cadavers or parts in the area because your dog is only looking for one scent not individual people. The scent to the dog is the same but if your dog is trained to find a person by name they will identify this person if asked to find them by name regardless if they are a cadaver or not.
Why? Because your dog will look for individual scents associated with that person, such as soap or perfume the person wears regularly. Those familiar scents will lead your dog to the person by name.
To train a dog to find any cadaver and body parts, you first need the scent. Then you can use either the toy or hide and seek method of air scent training to teach your dog the scent with a word associating this specific odor, such as “Seek” or “Recover”. When you do a live person search you would use a command like, “Find them” or “Get Vicki” so the dog knows what to look for.
The cadaver scent is placed in a toy or in a container with holes in it, a coffee can with a lid or PVC pipe with holes and caps on the ends work to hold the scent items. These training toys objects are hidden for the dog to find.
The first thing you must do is gather cadaver scent. You might be wondering how in the world we do this.
In the United States, officials and certified SAR personnel can assess special drug company catalogs that make synthetic scents of many types for search dog training purposes. The catalogs are amazing; every scent imaginable is available, along with illegal drugs, why clearance is needed to order.
Scent is so complex that drug companies have be able to make a scent similar to that of a person who has been drowned for a time limit, such as within 2-4 hours or 6-8 hours. They make live person scents that have the odor of fear included for searching for a person who is afraid like when they have wandered away in the woods or been kidnapped. Another scent might include an illness or age factor for searching for nursing home runaways which happens more then you might think.
The average person can not gain access to these supply companies without authorization and it is against the law in the USA to obtain and possess a body or body parts of any kind.
Then how do we get cadaver scent to teach the family dog? We collect our fingernails and toenails from friends and family members. We save only natural hair trimmings when somebody gets a trim or hair cut. No dyed or tinted hair or hair treated with gels or hairspray.
The nails and hair of a living person actually change from live to dead scent rather quickly once away from the living body.
For training your dog, the hair and nails are kept in a sealed baggie or container in a freezer until use to preserve and keep the scent fresh for the dog. Take the container out of the freezer before training and place some of the contents into the training toy. Afterwards, the toy should then be kept in the freezer between sessions.
Use the toy method for training your dog in this scent.
Dogs trained to search in water for a person who has been swept away in a flood or tsunamis are trained to find the cadaver scent along with live person scent. If you live in an area prone to tsunami or floods I would recommend teaching your dog the cadaver scent.