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"It's a three-being team," said Deborah Giles, a dog handler with Conservation Canines and a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.
"It's a coordinated dance between the dog reacting to a scent, the handler being able to interpret that change in body behavior of the dog, and then the boat driver really being in tune with not only the dog and the handler, but also all of the other things associated with being on the water."
The canine program, which is part of the university's Center for Conservation Biology, trains the dogs in what might seem at first to be unusual detective work: tracking wild animal scat. To non-scientists, that's poop — and it didn't start with orcas.
It's a technique pioneered by Conservation Canines' founder, Samuel Wasser, in the 1990s. He first worked with Barb Davenport, a lead trainer at the Washington State Department of Corrections, to train dogs using some of the department's narcotics-tracking techniques.
Davenport and her team "really helped us perfect this technology," said Wasser, who is also a professor and director of UW's Center for Conservation Biology.
Read the full article on CNN.
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