Specially-bred canines helping to find explosives at Moscow airport
A new method of detecting explosives has been tested on jackal-dog hybrids at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. The groundbreaking approach is based on analyzing the bioelectric activity of the animals' brain and central nervous system.
Watch the video of Jackal-dog hybrids working at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport:
Klim Sulimov, biologist
Devices less accurate, but more trusted?
The new method being used has increased detection accuracy to nearly 100 percent
Because of errors in "signal behavior," the accuracy achieved by the traditional dog method is only 60 percent, says Zaripov. However, the new method being used has increased detection accuracy to nearly 100 percent. Scientists have conducted about 1,000 experimental tests and only eight of them have recorded a mistake.
"We have decided not to use secondary signs, like signal behavior, which depends on many factors, but instead use a body's reaction – those signals that are generated by the dog's central nervous system," Zaripov explains. As a result, Aeroflot has developed a new hardware-software complex in cooperation with the Moscow-based A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical Center of Biophysics.
"Jackals have a sharper sense of smell than wolves. Jackals tolerate high temperatures very well. As a second element we took an Arctic reindeer-herding laika, which lives in -70 C. Can you imagine this? Our animals can work both in the United Arab Emirates and at low temperatures. This is our advantage. Shepherds feel cold at -20 C."
New method can detect false signals
Among other things, the new method makes it possible to detect "a false sit" (when a dog sits to signal that it has found something)
"In traditional signal behavior, 'a dog's trick' is hard to detect: The dog does not smile, it does not wink. In this case, however, an encephalogram shows that the dog has a conscience. Deep down it knows that it has made a mistake. The reaction of its central nervous system is completely different."
Deputy director of the Aviation Security Department at Aeroflot
Psychophysical profiling for jackal-dog hybrids
Puppies have between 10 and 35 percent jackal blood running through their veins
"Generally speaking, a dog gets attached to the person it works with. However, here we have a system whereby everybody works with everybody."
Head of the Aeroflot dog training service
At Aeroflot's kennels, puppies are trained beginning at three months
"The idea to crossbreed dogs, jackals and laikas came about, when I was working for the police. It was 1965. The USSR didn't have organized crime at the time, but a drug mafia had started to evolve. We didn't have any equipment in those days and needed animals that might be able to look for drugs. I managed to train dogs to search for hashish and opium. In the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, my job was almost ruined. I couldn't take dogs home: there were 11 of them at the time. So I was looking for different places to hold them, trying to help them survive somehow, and then I began working with Aeroflot."
This dog is a mutation, a reversion back to the reindeer herding laika from the place where they have evolved, i.e. Lapland. As a result of genetics, this wonderful creature with all the qualities of an ancient dog has appeared. This animal innately responds to the human signals they are given at work, so there is no need for them to learn these gestures
A real jackal is training while dogs are watching
Text by Victoria Zavyalova.Edited by Joe Crescente, Alastair Gill.Design and layout by Victoria Zavyalova.Images credits: Aeroflot press service, Ruslan Fayzulin / Russia Beyond The Headlines.© 2015 All Right Reserved. Russia Beyond The Headlines