Sniffing out what Australians know and believe about Drug Detector Dogs

Oliva, Jessica Lee, and Cobb, Mia L. (2024) Sniffing out what Australians know and believe about Drug Detector Dogs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. pp. 1-15. (In Press)

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The ways in which drugs are policed, differs from country to country, with Drug Detector Dogs (DDDs) a commonly used detection strategy in Australia. However, their effectiveness has been scrutinized by Australian media and research. Despite this, their work and lives “on the job” continue to be portrayed in a positive light on popular television shows such as Border Security. The aim of the current study was to ascertain public perceptions and knowledge surrounding DDDs using a sample of 129 Australians. Results revealed participants believed DDDs were equally as interesting and as happy as companion dogs. However, while there was general support for both dog roles in human lives, participants were relatively less supportive of the use of DDDs. Importantly, findings suggest general Australians have little awareness of the lives of DDDs “off the job,” including housing and handling practices that directly impact animal welfare. We suggest that greater transparency around these aspects of the dogs’ lives and welfare experience be made publicly available so that the DDD industry can maintain their social license to operate.

Item ID: 75947
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1532-7604
Keywords: Customs, narcotic, public perceptions, canine, pet
Copyright Information: © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science on 24 August 2022, available at:
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2022 08:48
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520501 Community psychology @ 50%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2304 Justice and the law > 230402 Crime prevention @ 33%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 34%
14 DEFENCE > 1401 Defence > 140109 National security @ 33%
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