border control: the sweet smell of sojos

by Kira Garret | May 10, 2013

It’s no secret that border entry and exit points are highly regulated, and not just in airports. When you cross the border from the US into Mexico or Canada, your vehicle could be subject to inspection by border patrol officials and/or patrol dogs.

Recently, Sojos Sales Rep. Jeff Sandy ran into a little trouble while crossing the border into Canada on a routine trip to visit some pet stores.

As Jeff was slowly driving through, a trained border patrol dog happened to walk by. Something in his car made the pup react in an excited manner. The border patrol officer asked Jeff to pull over to further inspect his vehicle. Based on the dog’s reaction, the officers were most certain that the car had something in it worth discovering! After examining the vehicle for over an hour, what did the officer find?

Sample bags of Sojos Beef Complete.

The patrol officer returned with a sample bag and concluded that the dog food had been the trigger—meaning the Sojos smelled so good, the dog signaled that he wanted in the car. Normally, patrol dogs react to the smell of an illegal substance, like marijuana and other illicit items, but not in this case!

As part of the Canine Enforcement Program (CEP), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has over 800 canine teams working to combat various threats, including the flow of illegal substances into and out of the country. While, the dogs in this program are some of the most highly trained in the country, many question the accuracy of their snouts.

A number of items factor into a dog’s reaction to a vehicle or person.

“Dog handlers can accidentally cue alerts from their dogs by leading them too slowly or too many times around a vehicle,” said Lawrence Myers, an Auburn University professor who studies detector dogs.

Also, a dog can pick up the faint traces of a scent in a vehicle long after the substance have been removed.

Regardless of the accuracy of the detector dog program, the dog who stopped outside Jeff’s car knew he wanted what was inside: Sojos!