Their alertness, sniffing ability and power is slowly making them a favourite with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), responsible for security at the airports across the country.
Having more than enough Labradors — generally used as sniffer dogs — in their dog squad, the CISF has inducted a cocker spaniel as it can easily sneak into small openings.
There have been occasions when the CISF faced difficulties in searching small corners inside the aircraft, especially the area below the seat. The force had 10 dogs — all Labradors — and has added six more (five Labradors and one cocker spaniel) to strengthen the security at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).
According to CISF, while Labradors have an excellent track record as sniffer dogs, small-sized cocker spaniel are ideal for airport security. “Now we have a 16-member dog squad and we will add more spaniels in the future. After training, six dogs have been inducted recently and are proving helpful in anti-sabotage and anti-hijack drills,” said a senior CISF official, requesting anonymity.
Being the most sensitive airport of the country, the Delhi airport remains on alert throughout the year. The CISF was founding it difficult to comb aircraft using Labradors due to their large size. “Labradors, which are generally used as sniffer dogs, are unable to negotiate the narrow spaces inside an aircraft. Cocker spaniels, however, have been trained to go under the seats or sneak into small corners to sniff out suspected explosives,” the officer added.
Sources said more such dogs will be added to the squad, depending on requirement and the success of the first induction.
CISF has its own dog breeding and training centre in Ghaziabad, which was launched in 2010. The CISF has procured the best pedigree pups of Labrador and cocker spaniel breeds and provided eight months’ training before deploying them for active duties.