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Frequently Asked Questions

At CDCI, it's ALL about the dogs. We never stop talking about them. That's why we also love questions. They offer more opportunities to carry on with our favorite topic! 
Here are the most common questions we get asked. Have something you want to ask our dogs (or our staff)? Contact us any time with what's on your mind! And be sure to check out our on-demand learning if you want to dig deeper into our world.


Teaching a dog a target odor is, in fact, an easy thing to do. But it requires a trainer that understands classical conditioning and operant learning... continue reading



While they can come in any breed, shape, or size, we find that the ideal conservation dogs have these particular attributes... continue reading



Dogs are amazing creatures. No man-made instrument has ever been able to replicate their scenting power and efficiency... continue reading

  • I would like to hire your Finder-Keeper Teams. How can I connect with your organization?
    We would love to hear form you! Please visit our "Work with Us" website page and click the appropriate button to submit an inquiry or assessment form.
  • Where are you located?
    Our Finder-Keeper Teams call the Midwest region in the United States home, however we travel to other regions in our country for project work. If we cannot directly help you with your project, we are connected with several reputable colleagues and are more than happy to refer you to an appropriate organization to suit your project goals. To learn more about our Projects, please click here. To meet our Finder (our dogs!), please click here. To submit an inquiry about hiring us, please visit our website page here:
  • How many scents can conservation dogs learn or find?
    Some conservation dogs have been trained to detect almost 20 different scents! Super impressive, right?
  • How long does it take to train a conservation dog?
    Typically, it takes anywhere from 6-18 months for our Canine Finders to be ready for operational deployment. Beyond their scent work training, they are constantly honing their behavioral skills to include coming when called (recall), directionals, and other practical manners (relaxing in a crate).
  • Where can conservation dogs work?
    Our Canine Finders get to work in all sorts of cool places. We've worked throughout the United States and trekked alongside our dogs while working on wind farms, in forests, along riverbanks, in prairies, in the mountains, and everywhere inbetween.
  • Where do you get your conservation dogs?
    Each of our Canine Finders has a unique story. Some were found as strays wandering the city streets, while others came to us as puppies or adolescent dogs from reputable breeders. We also partner with other organizations, such as the Southeast Guide Dogs, that might have a little too much enthusiasm for service dog work, but would thrive as a detection dog. What matters most is that every single one of our Finders finds a permanent home with their Canine Keeper where they are very well cared for and loved for life!
  • How can I support your conservation dogs?
    We are so grateful you asked! There are threen main ways to support our amazing Canine Finders to help keep their noses busy saving the planet we love! Give a gift: For $5 you can make a difference and directly support our dogs and their important work! Follow & Share: Give us a like on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and watch our videos on YouTube. Volunteer: Signup for volunteer opportunities with our growing organization. We cannot wait to meet you and learn about your special talents and how they can help our Canine Finders!
  • I want to do this work with my dog. How can I get started?
    We get this question a lot and love connecting with interested people who want to get nose deep into this industry. In general, you can expect a 1-2 year learning process to understand the various aspects of expertise required for conservation detection dog work and feel "field ready." To help you get started, here are some recommended learning opportunities: On-demand learning: We have several on-demand videos available. Visit our website page here to learn more. Our Conservation Dog Team Project Record and Guide Book: These self-published books offer an invaluable way to record information related to a specific conservation project, whether you're a seasoned conservation dog team professional or early-career handler looking to record relevant information for specific conservation projects. Learn more here. Virtual coaching: Conducted over Zoom/Google Meet, this option is great place to start for initial answers to your questions and get a good idea of the ins-and-outs of the industry. Training goals and plans can be established and intervals for scheduling are developed with you and the CDCI representative. Contact us to learn more. In-person mentorship: If you're looking to get some one-on-one training with your own dog, this option is a great investment to get live coaching. You'll be paired with an experienced CDCI Keeper who will work with you and provide feedback and training advise based on their years of experience. Contact us to learn more. Contact us to learn more. In addition, there are a few self-guided, online courses we recommend, including: K9 Conservationists' online courses: Center for Wildlife Studies online courses:

Have a question that's unanswered? Contact us!

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