In 2010, a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis set out to test the reliability of drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs.
The team assembled 18 police dogs and their handlers and gave them a routine task: go through a room and sniff out the drugs and explosives.
But there was a twist. The room was clean. No drugs, no explosives.
In order to pass the test, the handlers and their dogs had to go through the room and detect nothing.
But of 144 runs, that happened only 21 times, for a failure rate of 85 percent.
Although drug-sniffing dogs are supposed to find drugs on their own, the researchers concluded that they were influenced by their handlers, and that’s what led to such a high failure rate.
The data demonstrate that dogs are actually very poor at this, especially when no drugs are present. as this report suggest, though, many cops do not care as it gives them the aility to search anyone and anything because the dog “said” so.
Read up on Clever Hans, the original trick pony. This is why we do double blind studies of drugs because the results get skewed. And it gets worse when the police departments actually do it on purpose, training the dogs not to respond to drugs but to respond to their handler.
And it gets worse, since many local police are allowed to confiscate all the property in a drug bust, even if no drugs are actually found, because the dog responded.
Thanks to our Supreme Court, if a dog responds, that is probable cause. Apparently even if the dog is simply responding to the officer.
The courts need to simply stop allowing illegal searches to become legal simply because of a dog.