Got a dog who’s nuts for cats? You might want to train him to put his feline obsession to good use.
The Seattle-area-based Missing Pet Partnership (MPP) trains dogs, and their owners, to be first-rate detectives, sniffing out lost pets. When it comes to cat-detection, “we pick dogs that naturally get hyper-excited and wiggly when they detect the scent of a cat,” MPP founder Kat Albrecht tells Paw Nation.
Albrecht, who began her career as a police officer working with search-and-rescue bloodhounds, would use her own search dog to track lost pets in her spare time. Eventually her side project grew into the Missing Pet Partnership.
Not every cat lovin’ dog is up to par though. Only one in 15 dogs passes the initial test, which determines whether a dog can stay in the cat zone despite distractions like food and other pups. Dogs that pass this test enter a training program that typically lasts three or four months, Albrecht says. After they graduate, the dogs are ready to help locate runaway cats. Most graduates — and their owners — go on to provide their detecting services to their communities.
“Cat-detection dogs are a tool that we take with us when we go yard to yard looking under and in every hiding place for a cat. If there’s cat scent, the dog will let us know,” Albrecht tells Paw Nation.