Search Dogs Visit Santa Maria

This week, we had the pleasure of meeting two beautiful dogs; Priska, a German Shepherd, and Drift, the Weimaraner. We also met their incredible trainers, Dianne Bolger and Bev Auld, from Search Dogs Australia.

What we study in school should always link back and connect learning to life and this presentation quickly taught us how amazing the sensory abilities are of these dogs. This allows them to work closely with the WA Police in search and rescue efforts as well as border patrols at our airports.

We study the nervous system in Human Biology and our human senses are far inferior to that of dogs. During the presentation, Harriet Comerford-Smith and I volunteered to help demonstrate the dog’s talent, producing a scent sample for the dogs. This meant having a piece of clothing, in our case a beanie, that had been in skin-to-skin contact for at least two hours.

The group headed outside where I set off to hide while Harriet hid in the crowd. The dogs were provided with Harriet’s sample first and after each being given a different code word, the dogs began walking around the group smelling everyone trying to locate her.

After successfully finding Harriet within the group, the trainers gave the dogs my scent sample and then let them off their leads. Following my scent, they tracked me to my hiding spot, barking as soon as they found where I was. It was amazing to see how intelligent the dogs were and how they could be used to help locate missing people.

Mackenzie Goss, Year 11

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