It has been said that a dog is man’s best friend thus more often than not a good relationship between a dog and its master is understandable.
Dogs and their masters have different relationships. Chihuahuas and poodles are trophy dogs bred to look cute. There are sheepdogs to look after the flock against predators and guard dogs to look after your property.
Eight sniffer dog handlers of the Customs and Excise Canine team last Thursday demonstrated how they handle their dogs in their line of duty at the Cresta Lodge Hotel.
In their “work vests”, the dogs were instructed to sniff numerous bags in pursuit of any narcotic substances which could have been hidden. A handler would release the chain that was restraining a German shepherd and instruct it to commence sniffing.
While sniffing through the bags, it expertly picked one out and indicated to its handler by making a whimper and wagging its tail. The handler proceeded to congratulate it by throwing it a special reward ball.
The handler searched the bag from which he brought out a container of cannabis (dagga). The dog was one of the five that had been trained for sniffing for narcotics among others.
Another one was instructed to sniff the insides of a motor vehicle. It started jumping around; going in and out of all the four doors of the vehicle with its handler motivating it and in less than two minutes the male black dog was seated and wagging its tail in a special way. The handler congratulated it and threw it the rewarding ball, while she searched next to the door where the dog had signaled and brought out piece of what wildlife officials there present said was a lion’s remains. The dog was one of the three that have been trained to sniff for ivory/endangered species, currencies, copper wire, among others.
“The introduction of the Canine Team at BURS is not an event but a process. There is somewhere one should start to achieve what you have to achieve,” said Ken Morris Commissioner General of BURS in a brief interview after the event.
He said their officers were trained by handlers from the South African Revenue Collection Services (SARS).