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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my dad works as a prison officer and is always telling me about the sniffer dogs and how useful it would be to have something that could detect any hidden mobile phones. We were talking about it and rats are (supposedly?) more intelligent and have a better sense of smell than dogs. Me and him have deicded to do an experiment to see whether it is possible for a rat to detect a mobile phone and if so, if it could find it. We are going to try and inital experiment with my current rats to see if it is possible however they are quite old and so probably not that easy to train for a complicated thing like this. If we do find out that our hypothesis is correct (or signs that it is) we are going to purchase some baby rats and make a training program to see if it is possible to have sniffer rats.

I have put this on here to see if anyone has any ideas about this? i.e. how to go about it, if there would be any problems with it etc...
The way that it is done with sniffer dogs is to give rewards and to associate the thing they are trying to find with food. I was thinking to have food on the phone which would entice them to it and giving them a treat when they went to it, gradually taking the food on the phone away.

This may have no success whatsoever but it would be very interesting to find out if it did :) If there is any success in this, my dad is going to look into a licence for drugs and see if it is possible to have a rat find drugs.

Would really appreciate any ideas on this

xxVixenxx
 

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Rats have a smaller attention span, so are harder to train.

I do not think rats are anywhere as smart as dogs, JMHO.

How would a rat indicate that it found a cell phone? Dogs will make a noise or sit upon detection.

Rats live MAX 3 years. It would have to be retired probably after less than a year of work... and due to their decreased attention spans would need at least a half a year if not a year of training to be reliable to any degree. A constant stream of in training and working animals. Each one shouldn't be used every day for fear of stress.

Some rats stress easily which then results in illness - and probably early retirement.

Rats are more delicate when compared to dogs. Would you expose your rather delicate animals to potentially aggressive inmates?

More people are terrified of rodents than they are dogs... and could injure your rats out of fear.

Dog training methods and dog trainers are easy to find. With rats having very short usable lifespans, you'll not only have to have a good number of rats but LOTS of people willing to help train.

Finding homes for retired rats would probably be VERY difficult.

You'd probably have to breed your own rats to be sure you get your hands on the young rats at just the right age to start training them so they would have as much training and use time as possible.

Are dogs not able to be trained to sniff out phones?
 

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i don't think it's viable in a "grand scheme of things" kind of way like capricecritters put so nicely, but it would be a very neat experiment. and now that you've mentioned it, i think we should all train our rats to sniff out things. does anyone have any information on training rats?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dogs scent of smell cannot pick up traces of a mobile phone, Im not actually sure if any animal can, but I would be interested to find out.
Rats are used a lot as sniffer animals to detect drugs, landmines and now even TB because they are small and get into small places.
Im not planning on setting this up as a major rat factory or something, Im just interested to see if it is a possible idea.
Rats would never be near inmates (if it ever even came to that) when they search someones room they take the inmate out of it and let the dogs go in.
Rats can indicate that they have found something by standing up or scratching on the floor.

It is possible to clicker train your rat, when they go near the objects click them and then give them some food, this will instantly make them associate finding this thing with the click and the click with the food.
 

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The issue would be finding an aspect of a mobile phone that would uniquely identify it by scent. I suspect that it cannot be done with dogs because there is no scent in a phone that would differentiate it from any other electronic device. I don't believe you would have success training a rat or a dog to detect a mobile phone unless you knew exactly what in the phone they would be detecting, and that it was completely unique to mobile phones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes this is true, Im not sure whether it is possible, would be interesting to find out though :) Myabe they could pick up signals? Im not sure to what extent their sense of smell would go. There is the slight problem due to people scent and whether they would be sniffing for their owners scent and not the phone?
 

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you could maybe train them to pick up electrical devices? you could use other people's spo that they dont think it's your scent they're trying to find. some ideas.... i really want to do this now. we should start a rat training club lol
 

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