Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Kenneth G. Furton

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jose R. Almirall

Third Advisor's Name

Yong Cai

Fourth Advisor's Name

John Landrum

Fifth Advisor's Name

DeEtta Mills


Detection Canines, Calibration, Surrogate Continuation Aids, Explosives, TATP

Date of Defense



Detection canines represent the fastest and most versatile means of illicit material detection. This research endeavor in its most simplistic form is the improvement of detection canines through training, training aids, and calibration. This study focuses on developing a universal calibration compound for which all detection canines, regardless of detection substance, can be tested daily to ensure that they are working with acceptable parameters. Surrogate continuation aids (SCAs) were developed for peroxide based explosives along with the validation of the SCAs already developed within the International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) prototype surrogate explosives kit. Storage parameters of the SCAs were evaluated to give recommendations to the detection canine community on the best possible training aid storage solution that minimizes the likelihood of contamination. Two commonly used and accepted detection canine imprinting methods were also evaluated for the speed in which the canine is trained and their reliability.

As a result of the completion of this study, SCAs have been developed for explosive detection canine use covering: peroxide based explosives, TNT based explosives, nitroglycerin based explosives, tagged explosives, plasticized explosives, and smokeless powders. Through the use of these surrogate continuation aids a more uniform and reliable system of training can be implemented in the field than is currently used today. By examining the storage parameters of the SCAs, an ideal storage system has been developed using three levels of containment for the reduction of possible contamination. The developed calibration compound will ease the growing concerns over the legality and reliability of detection canine use by detailing the daily working parameters of the canine, allowing for Daubert rules of evidence admissibility to be applied. Through canine field testing, it has been shown that the IFRI SCAs outperform other commercially available training aids on the market. Additionally, of the imprinting methods tested, no difference was found in the speed in which the canines are trained or their reliability to detect illicit materials. Therefore, if the recommendations discovered in this study are followed, the detection canine community will greatly benefit through the use of scientifically validated training techniques and training aids.





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