Louisa, VA—Louisa County Sheriff's Department is renowned in the state for its use of bloodhounds. The canines hone their skills in a week-long training session which helps prepare them to find missing people.
Lt. Patrick Sheridan explains how the dogs track down individuals. "They're looking for human scent -- each individual human scent is unique as a fingerprint."
The dogs begin their search with a "scent article," an object or smell from the person it needs to find. Once the scent is learned, the dogs focus their attention on finding the missing individual.
Lt. Sheridan says a dog's temperament is an important factor in determining whether they will be a good fit for the job.
"You want a dog that's environmentally sound, not scared of noises in the city but also very friendly, outgoing because a lot of times they are searching for lost child, adults with mental issues."
The training course in Louisa is laid out hours before the dogs arrive. The animals navigate through busy streets and neighborhoods, and deal with factors that may have moved the missing person's smell, such as wind.
The trails are essential to the careers of the bloodhounds, by helping to keep their skills in the best possible condition.
"The trails will progressively get longer and they'll get older in age so we can make sure the dogs are proficient in working different age trails and different environments," says Lt. Sheridan.
For more information on the Louisa County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit, please visit here.
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