Search Dogs: New Business Ideas


Perhaps my favorite example of what search dogs are capable of is the true story I once read about a treasure hunter who trained his dog to find United States currency. Apparently our bills have a unique enough odor that the dog was able to point out where cash was hidden. The man's biggest haul was a stash of old bills that the dog located in the seat cushion of an old car as he and his owner walked through a junkyard one day. The bills were damaged and had to be turned into the department of treasury for replacement, but the man got back over $8,000 for the tattered currency.

This immediately suggests the money-making possibilities with search dogs (also called detection dogs or sniffer dogs). To start with it reminds me of all the hidden cash that remains undiscovered by family when a person dies. many people hide bills under the house, in books, in the garage, and so on, without telling anyone where the stash is, which creates a problem for heirs. That currency-sniffing dog is the solution. If you had such an animal you might do these jobs for a percentage of cash found.

But the fact that a dog can detect buried or hidden cash reminds us of the versatility of these animals, and hints at the many as-yet untried money-making applications. As it is dogs are already used to detect bedbugs (about 100 do this in our country according to Wikipedia), to detect cancer, to locate people in buildings after earthquakes, to find drugs, and more. Dogs have even been trained to detect the Quagga Mussel on boats at public boat ramps in California, and to detect illicit cell phones in prison.

So lets make a quick list of new ideas for using search dogs to make money...

- Pet locator business: If they can find humans, wouldn't people pay to have a dog find their lost pets?

- Stolen car locator: It isn't as crazy as it sounds, and there is at least one case where the odors from in a car lead to a man's arrest after a dog was used to track him along several highways.

- Gold detector: Gold itself may not have a distinct odor that a dog can track, but minerals that are associated with gold might.

- Worm finder: Ever dig for fishing worms without finding any? A dog might make a worm business more profitable.

How Much Can You Make?

There is no way to say what you might make. This page is part of the Money Making Ideas section, meaning it has unproven concepts that may or may not work when tried.

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If you find a niche that works, you can start training and selling the dogs to other people who want to be in the business but do not want to do prepare their own search dogs.

Qualifications / Requirements

A dog, and the patience to work with it over long periods of time doing tedious training exercises.

First Steps

Get a dog that can be trained as a search dog, study up on conditioning techniques, and start training.

Resource - A Wikipedia entry on search dogs (or "detection dogs") and the various uses they are put to.

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