discussion / Conservation Dogs  / 27 August 2021

Dogs & technology

Hi all, this might be a funny question to ask considering the last thread about dogs trumping technology in most cases, but I would really appreciate your input on this: 

Could you think of a scenario where dogs and technology are either nose to nose, or where both dogs and technology are bringing something to the table for overall improved results? 

A very open question, sorry - I would be interested to hear anything that comes to mind. 

So glad to have found this forum :).

Dogs, in simple terms are a tool just like any other technology you use. There are advantages and limitations just like any other technologies. I like to tell people they need to survey in depth. This means you use as many technologies as needed to minimize any limitations in your survey. The dogs can cover most requirements but if there is a limitation that is deemed to exist in your particular situation then you bridge that limitation with technology if available. 

Some surveys only require a dog team to meet the goal and some need a layered approach. 

This is where a professional dog team’s advice is important. They can assist in the planning phase. You can matrix your limitations and then mitigate with the dog and if there are still gaps see if technology fits the requirements. 

It should never be seen as the dog team is the final solution unless they mitigate all your limitations. Which is often, but not always, the case. 

Also remembering that the human element in the dog team is just as important as the dog. 

So, a simple scenario is in areas of high target concentration needing individual and exact locations. The dog may be confused by the spread of scents all over the area but give you an approximation of a location. Then the humans need to take over with, for instance at night, heat sensing technology. In this case the dog team can reduce the potential target areas by telling you there is nothing present and then give you a priority area when they say something is present. This area reduction is a huge advantage to survey large areas and reduce resources required. 

Or passive cameras can be used to monitor an area for target traffic then once establish they are passing the camera the dog team can be brought in to follow up the trail or reduce the area of the potential target’s location. 

Remembering also that dogs can be a platform for technology such as GPS of tracklines and waypoints of target alerts.