Mine Detection Dogs
MLI launched the Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program (MDDPP) in 1999. The program utilizes government and private donations to purchase, train and deliver Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to landmine removal organizations within a mine-affected country. There are currently more than 900 MDDs working in 24 countries; MLI has donated more than 230 of those dogs. Since launching the MDD program, MLI’s life-saving dogs have searched more than 47 million square meters of mine-contaminated land (see our Where We Work page), saving countless lives! Learn how to fully sponsor a life-saving MDD or join our Share-A-Dog program!
What We Do
MLI’s Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program improves the quantity and quality of mine detection dogs (MDDs) for the countries that need them most.
Learn more here about which countries our MDDs work in.
MDDs are a crucial component to mine action programs because of their incredible sense of smell, which allows them to “sniff out” the explosive odors of landmines.
Unlike metal detectors, tools commonly used in demining, a dog is able to locate both metal and plastic landmines. An MDD works in a team with a human handler; the team can search up to 30 times faster than a manual deminer without compromising accuracy.
When properly integrated with other technologies (manual demining and machines) the mine detection dog team is an incredibly valuable tool for mine detection. None of MLI’s Mine Detection Dogs have ever been hurt or killed while working.
MLI dogs are trained either at the Global Training Academy in Somerset, Texas or the Mine Detection Dog Center in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Both facilities procure dogs from reputable breeders in Europe. The dogs complete a rigorous 3-5 month training course where they learn to detect explosive odors commonly found in landmines.
Dogs are trained to locate the scent and then sit still, stay safe, and alert a human partner to mark the spot. This ensures that the mine can be removed or destroyed. Dogs’ detection skills, as well as their agility and size, makes them one of the most versatile and valuable partners in the landmine removal team.
MDDs are motivated to work because of their strong relationship with their human partners and the reward received for finding a mine. When a dog detects a mine, the handler praises and rewards the dog, usually with a ball or a toy. This makes the work fun for the dog, which motivates them to continue.
What Happens When A Mine Detection Dog Completes its Service?
MLI believes that successful programs ensure that retired dogs are placed in good homes, in appropriate recognition of their service. When MLI partners with a local demining organization, this is a critical and contracted element. Nearly all of MLI’s MDDs are adopted by their handlers upon retirement, as the dogs generally work with the same person for their entire working career and an incredibly deep bond develops. When this is not possible, MLI brings them to the United States and partners with organizations like Mission K9 Rescue to place them in loving homes.
Through individual and corporate sponsorship MLI has purchased, trained and delivered 235 lifesaving dogs.
Meet our dogs, and the donors who made everything possible.