NMAS 09.40

Guide for the Use of Mine Detection Dogs (MDD)

Edition 2.1 - March 2020     DOWNLOAD


Over the past three decades Mine Detection Dogs, MDD, (that may also be known as Explosive Detection Dogs, EDD) have been used to support demining operations in many countries. Despite concerns raised about the reliability and cost of MDD, experience has shown that they can be used efficiently in demining operations in the right circumstances. Research continues into ways to increase the utility of MDD by combining their search capacity with other tools and procedures. The reliability of MDD search can vary as a function of such factors as the training method, the inherent qualities of the dog, and the prevailing environmental factors in the search area, but as long as the influence of these factors is recognized and controlled, MDD may be a valuable asset. The term ‘MDD Clearance’ is a misnomer because an MDD cannot clear anything. The MDD can be a detection asset just as a metal-detector can be a detection asset, except that it has different advantages and limitations. The reliable performance of a machine can be objectively assessed in a way that it is not possible to assess the detection performance of an animal that may be influenced by many uncontrollable factors. Also, the ability of an MDD to reliably pinpoint the position of a hidden hazard is questionable and so MDD are used to detect the presence of an explosive hazard in an area, rather than to pinpoint the precise position of each hazard. Clearance is much more that the ‘detection’ of an explosive hazard. When a dog indicates, the hazard must be pin-pointed, exposed and destroyed by manual deminers before it has been cleared. So MDD in HMA are a manual demining detection asset rather than a means of clearing ground. Any Implementing Agency (IA) in Lebanon that wishes to use an MDD search capacity must ensure that MDD handlers are well-trained and able to work efficiently with their dog(s) in procedures that have been accredited by the LMAC. The IA must also takes pains to ensure that each MDD’s health is good as a means of maintaining the credibility and reliability of MDD as a search asset.