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Mine Detection Dogs (MDD)

Mine Detection Dogs (MDD)

Mine Detection Dogs are an effective aid to humanitarian mine clearance. Around14 to 21 days is required to allow the dogs to become acclimatised to local weather conditions, vegetation, soil conditions and the surrounding environment. Mine Detection Dogs can very effectively confirm the presence of mines in an area. When searching for mines and other explosives, the hazardous area is searched by a minimum of two Mine Detection Dogs.  If neither dog indicates the presence of mines or explosives, this area can be considered as cleared.

All Mine Detection Dogs must undergo in-country training prior to accreditation, evaluation and operational deployment. Regular training, internal and external evaluation must also be carried out ensure the dog is performing up to the highest standard.  Mine Detection Dogs are worked during the optimum time of day depending on the local climate – thus in very hot countries, the dogs and handlers will start work at first light.
Dogs have limited capacity to working in hot climates and can seldom be worked when the temperature exceeds 40°C.

Mine Detection Dog Training

Handlers train dog’s daily, on actual targets, take their dogs for a 3 km run three times a week and walk their dogs for 45 minutes twice a day.

Tasks that can be carried out by Mine Detection Dogs

  • Verification, survey or area reduction, of suspected mined areas
  • Clearance of low density mined areas in support of manual clearance teams
  • Clearance of suspected mined railroads
  • Clearance of suspected mined roads
  • Clearance in areas where handheld mine detectors are unable to operate such as where there is high metal contamination
  • Clearance of safe lanes if there is a lack of manual de-miners available to perform this function
  • Quality Control on any other clearance task suitable for MDD operations – such as follow-up after Manual or Mechanical Clearance
  • Clearance of an evacuation lane from the nearest safe place to a casualty in case of a mine accident. Normally only selected dogs and handlers carry out this activity after specific training.

Procedure for the Gridded or Box System

A common way to clear an area with a MDD is to divide the area into square boxes, separated by 1m cleared lanes, and let the dogs clear these one by one. This clearance principle is commonly called the boxing system. A gridded 10m x 10m box pattern is cut by manually clearing 1m clearance lanes. The dimensions of the box are based on the standard length of known tripwire devices.  However, it must be noted that Mine Dogs should never be deployed in a trip wire area.

Mine Detection Dogs must not work for more than 60 minutes at a time without at 10 minute break. If the temperature is rising and starts to affect the MDD, breaks every 25 to 30 minutes are essential.

MMD trainer

MDD Panel Method

The panel search method is used by free running MDDs in Low Threat Hazardous Areas which cover a 6m x 250m length panel which is then moved forward 4m to start a new panel.

The other panel method uses 10m x 10m search boxes.  The Handler marks the edges of the 10m box on left and right, then walks on the outer safe area to mark the North corner. The first MDD completes the search of the 10m x 10m box in a North to South
Direction. The second MDD searches from West to East.  When both dogs have completed the search, the handler walks to the 9m mark of the box in the North which gives a 1m overlap and places markers along the 9m boundary from West to East to demarcate the next 10m x 10m box, creating a panel effect lengthways.