Hot dog: Edmonton Fire’s new K9 recruit sniffs flammable liquids for snacks

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The new recruit to the local fire department has a flair for flammable liquids like gasoline and an affinity for hot dogs.

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The Edmonton Fire Department (EFRS) presented their new K9, Marshal, to the training academy on 157th Street on Friday. He and his master were certified in July, and now Marshal is helping investigators find where and how the fires started, all for his favorite snacks.

Captain Ian Smith says Marshal is an important member of the team. He brings him to any scene where there’s a chance to find flammable liquids, and his sensitive nose means he can find them much faster than humans.

“We also have electronic instruments that we can use, but it’s been proven that dogs are more precise, there are more precise points, they know exactly where to go,” he says.

“We don’t have the nose they have – a dog’s nose is over 10,000 times stronger than a person’s. They can find things pretty quickly, but we would take hours.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) Fire Investigator Captain Ian Smith and EFRS Flammable Liquid Detection Field Marshal K9 pose for a photo at the EFRS Training Academy, 10420 157 St., in Edmonton on Friday September 3, 2021. Photo by David Bloom Photo by David Bloom David Bloom /David Bloom / Postmedia

The 21-month-old Belgian Malinois is trained to find traces of 12 different substances, including kerosene, diesel and gasoline.

Marshal informs Smith by wagging his tail or nodding his head when he comes to an area where he thinks he can find something, Smith says. Once he does, he points his nose and holds in place, then gets a reward.

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The dog’s full registered name is Alberta Fire Marshal K9. Alberta K9 co-owner Kelsey Boettcher, who raised and trained him, says it was just a happy coincidence – his litter had fire-themed names after their father, Arson.

This type of breed loves to work, she says.

“It’s his greatest joy in life,” says Boettcher. “We teach by association of scents – he looks for a toy or a food… associating us food and scent from the start. “

Boettcher teaches puppies to scent imprint by training them to stick their noses into a series of tubes and boxes, and when they smell the right scent they get a reward.

Working with a dog is a new challenge for Smith, but now he has a whole new appreciation for their talents. The two bonded and built a relationship of mutual trust, he says.

“I think I’m pretty much his best friend these days,” he says.

“I’ve had companion dogs before, but having a working dog is pretty special … I can take my dog ​​to work every day.”

EFRS K9s typically work five to seven years before retirement. Marshal is the fourth dog in the department since 1996. The last K9, Grover, retired last year with his handler.

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Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) Flammable Liquid Detection K9 Marshal demonstrates his detection skills with Fire Investigation Captain Ian Smith at the EFRS Training Academy, 10420 157 St., in Edmonton on Friday September 3, 2021. Photo by David Bloom
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) Flammable Liquid Detection K9 Marshal demonstrates his detection skills with Fire Investigation Captain Ian Smith at the EFRS Training Academy, 10420 157 St., in Edmonton on Friday September 3, 2021. Photo by David Bloom Photo by David Bloom David Bloom /David Bloom / Postmedia



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