Did You Know…?

Dogs can sense odours at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can. They can detect one drop of blood in five quarts of water!

Canine Demine has now sponsored the training and work of 17 mine detection dogs (MDD). Our canine partners and their handlers are all currently working in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Afghanistan. There has never been a Canadian-trained dog killed or injured in the field.

Mine detection dogs (MDD) can speed up the work of manual demining by about 10 times. If a manual deminer can clear 100 sq. metres per day, the addition of a MDD can increase the rate to 1,000 square metres per day. These incredible canine demining partners are remarkably adept at identifying the location of mines, without coming into direct contact with them. They smell the explosive charge.

 

Why Dogs?
Mine Detection Dog Training
Our Mine Detection Dogs
How to Get Involved

 

MDD training section of Three Interviews in Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

 

Why Dogs?

Mine detection dogs (MDD) can speed up the work of manual demining by about 10 times. If a manual deminer can clear 100 sq. metres per day, the addition of a MDD can increase the rate to 1,000 square metres per day. The safety of our canine partners is our primary concern. There has never been a Canadian-trained dog killed or injured in the field.  Canine Demine is a program that facilitates the training of ordinary German Shepherd dogs into extraordinary mine detection dogs. These incredible canine demining partners are remarkably adept at identifying the location of mines, without coming into direct contact with them. They smell the explosive charge. There has never been a Canadian-trained dog killed or injured in the field. There have been a number of different animals used for the detection of mines including rats and bees. Yet while there have been advantages, nothing has yet come close to the efficiency and effectiveness of dogs.

 

Mine Detection Training

The training of our mine detection dogs is undertaken by the Canadian International Demining Corps (CIDC). The training is designed to focus on the smell of the explosive charge. A video of the detailed training can be seen in part 3 of Three Interviews in Bosnia and Herzegovina in our Resources section.

To learn more about CIDC visit their website www.cidc.ws

As with most working dog training, in the beginning, finding the explosives is set up as a game, as simple as “find the ball”. Dog and handler progress to more challenging situations and the reward is the handler’s enthusiasm and praise. The dog is trained to indicate an explosive by calmly sitting a short distance from the location of the scent. Generally, the dogs and handlers work in areas that have been set up in 10 metre grids. These grids are laid out by manual deminers, which clear safe access lanes about a metre wide around the task area. The dogs and handlers work in teams. Each dog, held on a leash and upwind by their handler, traverses the grid. If a dog indicates the presence of explosives, the location is marked and another dog handler team traverses the same grid 3 hours later. At that time, any found ordinance is removed manually or mechanically. The false alarm rate is low, the safety level is high, and the teams find mines before people get hurt. Landmine detection dogs are especially effective where non-metallic or plastic encased mines have been laid, since they are difficult to find using conventional metal detector technology. Conventional technology is also less effective where the soil contains metallic substances. Landmine detection dogs can also work in areas that are inaccessible to heavy machinery. By efficiently determining minefield perimeters, dog and handler teams also significantly reduce time and resources required for surveying and mechanical and manual demining work.

Like the strong bond of friendship and trust that exists between any dog and their caregiver, the bond between MDD dogs and handlers is very strong. This is important because they will work as a team for a minimum of 5 years. And moreover, every day, their lives depend on each other. For the dogs, finding explosives is a game, so the handler must be alert to any inconsistencies in the dog’s actions. Dogs are just like you and I, in the sense that they can become bored, sick, or even be having an off day. The handlers have to make sure that their dogs are in top shape every day that they do this important work. Matching each dog with a handler of the right temperament is critical.

 

Our Mine Detection Dogs

Jimmy
Named for Cpl. James Hayward Arnal who was killed in Afghanistan July 18, 2008. Funds were raised through the efforts of his mother Wendy Hayward. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in southern Afghanistan.

Wesley
Named by the staff of the University of Winnipeg. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in Bosnia.

Sapper
Named by the key donor, the Rotary Club of Toronto. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in southern Afghanistan.

Agnes Jane
Named at an event hosted by Rotarian Tod Wright. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in Bosnia.

Brian
Named in memory of Brian Isfeld, father of Mark Isfeld. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in Bosnia, working together with Carol and Izzy.

Carol
Named in memory of Carol Isfeld, mother of Mark Isfeld and the creator of the Izzy Doll. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in Bosnia, working together with Brian and Izzy.

Izzy
Named in memory of MCpl. Mark R. Isfeld. A Canadian peacekeeper killed in Croatia in 1994. Currently undergoing training in Bosnia. Will then be deployed in Bosnia, working together with Brian and Carol.

Paul
Named in memory of Cpl. Paul Davis who was killed in Afghanistan March 2, 2006. Currently working in southern Afghanistan.

Jeff
Named in memory of Master Cpl. Jeffrey Walsh who was killed in Afghanistan August 9, 2006. Currently working in southern Afghanistan.

Boomer
Named in memory of Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom who was killed in Afghanistan August 11, 2006. Currently working in southern Afghanistan.

Trooper
Named by the key donor, Crestwood School in Edmonton. Currently working in Bosnia.

Victor
Named in honour of Inspector Victor Josey of the RCMP for his role in international peacekeeping. Currently working in Bosnia.

Rémi
Named in honour of Rémi Bujold who served as Chairman of the Canadian Landmine Foundation from 2001-2006. Currently working in Bosnia.

Louis
Named in honour of Cst. Louis Gignac, of the Quebec City Police, for his role in international peacekeeping. Currently working in Bosnia.

Layla
Named by a student to recognised school support for MDD training.Currently working in Bosnia.

Nightingale
Named in honour of key donor, Nightingale House of Elmwood School in Ottawa. Currently working in Bosnia.

Pax
Named by a young girl in Toronto as the winner of the “I Need a Name Contest” and primarily funded by the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program. Currently working in Bosnia.

Alex and Fanny
Named by the key donor – Three Dog Bakery. After working for two years, Fanny became ill and, while she has recovered, was retired and is currently living with her handler in Bosnia. Unfortunately Alex also became ill and had to be put down. His handler Zarko reflects on the loss of Alex at the end of Three Interviews in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as seen in this video:

 

 

How to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with our Canine Demine Program. You can get involved by raising awareness for the need to continue this life saving work in Bosnia-Herzegovina. You can get involved by raising donations so that Canine Demine can continue to sponsor our dogs and even expand by training more dogs in more countries. You can even decide, as the University of Winnipeg did, to fund the complete training of a dog and select the name. You can also get involved right now by choosing to make a donation, or you can explore the more specific ways you can get involved at home, at your school, at work, or by sending one of our Special Tributes.

At Home
You can host a Meal for a Mine-Free World and direct the proceeds to training a MDD. If you raise enough you might be able to name the dog!

At School
Whether you are a teacher or a student, there are many ways you can help by getting involved at your school. For example, you can host your own school, club or community group DOGS 4 DOGS hot dog lunch. See other fundraising ideas here.

At Work
You can participate from your place of work in a number of simple ways. Organize and participate in a company Meals for a Mine-Free World fundraiser, or get local businesses and corporations to encourage employees to get involved, perhaps by providing matching funds for money raised by employees or their community.

Special Tribute
Are you looking for a meaningful way to say thank you, to remember a special individual, or to commemorate a special day or event? Consider a gift that will help to make life better for children living with the danger of landmines. Contact us to make a special memorial, honourary, or celebratory tribute. We will send the recipient a card to acknowledge your gift. A tax receipt will be sent to you by mail.

Mine Detection Dogs save lives.

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