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How are bomb-sniffing dogs trained? Now you can go behind the scenes.


LAS VEGAS (CIRCA via KSNV) — A dog’s sense of smell is its primary form of communication. It’s unparalleled. That’s why harnessing a canine’s ability can be a powerful tool for us and our safety.

Explosive detection dogs and firearm detection dogs are in hot demand and now the public can take part in the process.

“What we can do is take a dog and train it from zero and get it ready for the street," said Cameron Ford, Silver State K9's director of training.

Jen Wenk just graduated the detection dog Hhandler school program with fellow student Toby Hale. Both showed off their newly acquired skills with trained dogs.

“I look at the world differently now and I feel like I can help make the world safer," Wenk said.

It’s the first class open to the public, and Wenk said it opened her eyes.

“You walk into a room and you start looking at air vents and try and figure out which way the air is flowing, where scents could be pooling," she said.

Wenk said she’s learning so she can take her two dogs, Golden, and Golden Junior, through the certification process.

“We can work as a family to keep other families safe,” she said.

“There is no other facility that has all of the things that we have here,” said Ford. He has an extensive military and law enforcement background. He said this is a career anyone can do with the right training, but, it takes work. “It’s always much easier to train the dogs than it is to train the humans.”

Both are in high demand.

“TSA has mandated that all cargo must be screened by K9s," Ford said. “Currently there are not nearly enough certified dog handlers that exist to fulfill that contract need.”

It’s a growing field for explosive detecting dogs and firearm detecting dogs. “That is a level of enhanced security that a casino or an event would want to have to help with potentially weapons being brought into that area,” Ford said.

It’s life-saving work whether it’s a new career or a contract job. Wenk said, “I like it and I want to do it and I am all in.”

Silver State K9 said they don’t focus too much on heavy obedience training because they want the dogs to be obedient to the odor.

They have all kinds of classes for dogs and handlers.

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