Evaluation of the Capability of Oil Specific Discrimination in Detection Dogs

19 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2023

See all articles by Mallory DeChant

Mallory DeChant

Texas Tech University

Paul C. Bunker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nathanial J. Hall

Texas Tech University

Abstract

Dogs are used for oil detection to support spill remediation and conservation, but little is known about the effects of weathering and aging of oil odorants on dogs’ ability to generalize and discriminate fresh oil from aged/weathered tar ball oil. Three dogs were trained to a fresh oil (Bunker-C) odorant using a three alternative-choice procedure and automated olfactometers. We evaluated dogs’ ability to discriminate fresh target oil from four different weathered tar ball samples. All three dogs successful discriminated the fresh target oil from the four nontarget weathered oils with an accuracy of 96%, 97%, and 100%. After the oil discrimination test, dogs’ ability to discriminate fresh target oil from novel natural odorants on a beach (plastic bottle lid, bird feathers, and rocks) was tested in a novel discrimination test yielding an accuracy of 95%, 100%, and 100%. These data suggest dogs are successful in discriminating fresh oil from weathered oil with explicit training.

Keywords: Oil detection dog, Odor discrimination, Fresh versus weathered discrimination, spill remediation and conservation

Suggested Citation

DeChant, Mallory and Bunker, Paul C. and Hall, Nathanial J., Evaluation of the Capability of Oil Specific Discrimination in Detection Dogs. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4539275 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4539275

Mallory DeChant (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

Paul C. Bunker

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Nathanial J. Hall

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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