HOW WE CAN HELP
We can provide a range of dogs and handlers to find the most suitable team for your project. Each dog is given specialised training for your project i.e. target odours, transport or novel habitats. All of our dogs are trained to have a passive indication so target samples are not contaminated and can be sent for further analysis, and for the welfare of the target species and the dogs.
We have a relationship with Queen's University Belfast, and take on a placement student each year who can focus on your project for their research module. Our staff have media training to help extend the reach of your project.
CDDNI chair the research theme of the Ecology Dogs in Britain and Ireland working group, and believe strongly in collaboration. We have a background in academia including skills in GIS and statistics to help you further in your project after the data has been collected by the dogs.
We have publications in peer-reviewed journals and love to further the research into using dogs in conservation settings. We can provide advice on brand new ideas and are happy to test out novel scents with our dogs.
In Spring 2021, CDDNI were tasked with training a dog to identify active seabird burrows on islands around Ireland. We selected Rufus, our most experienced dog for this project as he can pick up new scents extremely quickly and we needed a dog in the field as soon as possible.
Specialised training was given to Rufus, for embarking and disembarking boats, searching burrows and walking on new surfaces i.e. jetties, metal stairs. Licences were attained by our staff in advance of all work commencing on the islands.
After a successful proof of concept Rufus has been tasked with further surveys in the 2022 field season to fully cement the method of using dogs in this way.
Rufus was found to be 100% accurate in discrimination trials for Manx Shearwater against a range of distractor scents. This included other bird species, rabbits that inhabit the burrows the Manx Shearwater will be nesting in, and possible contamination scents from how the training scents were gathered and stored. Rufus was tested on Manx Shearwater scent he was not trained on previously.
Another one of our dogs Reid, and his handler Rachel, were brought in to help us modify the method of imprinting the dogs on seabird scent. We are now confident we have the best method of training dogs in this field.
In the field, Rufus had confirmed finds using other surveying methods i.e. playback and endoscope. This year we will go further to calculate his percentage accuracy in the field.
Two papers are now being compiled on this work and will be in review before the end of 2022. One paper will bring together the experts in the field from around the world.
This work was funded by the MarPamm project and NPWS.