Estrous detection

2020-2021 The application of judgment bias and signal detection theory in dogs during an ambiguous detection task


Detection dogs have been used for years in operational settings to detect a wide range of odours like explosives, narcotics, accelerants, cadavers, wildlife scat, currency and blood. ). If a specific odour encountered by the dog is novel, then the dog must select information from its previous experience and use this as a basis for an appropriate response (Wright et al. 2017). In this sense, a dog constantly makes a decision about ambiguous stimuli during the detection task. In this project three dogs were trained to detect and respond to samples from estrous mares. Performance was tested in trials consisiting of simultaneous presentation of dung samples of estrous and di-estrous mares.


With this results, Conservation Dog Services has been analysing the learning curves for each dog to obtain more knowledge on how detection dogs learn on an individual level (article in prep).

The faecel samples from the mares were kindly provided by drs Myrthe Wessel.

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