EXCLUSIVE: University of Notre Dame to utilize 'Vapor-Wake' dogs for security

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They're called the future of security at big events. The University of Notre Dame will soon use Vapor-Wake dogs on campus.

WSBT 22's Leanne Tokars has an exclusive first look at these specially-trained dogs.

The university just got two of these dogs-- the only dogs of this kind right now in Indiana.

You've seen bomb sniffing dogs before, tracking scents on static objects, but these dogs do even more.

Skeet and Toxi are black labs who are not your ordinary bomb sniffing dogs. Their targets are on the move. These vapor dogs look for something people could never detect.

Notre Dame Police Deputy Chief Steve Smith explains, "As a person walks, you leave off a vapor - a wake of vapor as you travel down the hallway, for example. The dog is designed to pick up on that scent and follow that scent wherever it may take them."

They will follow roughly 10 different scents, all tied to explosives, whether it's a bomb in a backpack or strapped to someone's clothing.

This requires a lot of training. These dogs have been trained since they were just months old and their handlers just returned from seven weeks of intense training in Alabama.

"It's amazing what these dogs can do," says Anthony Clark with Notre Dame Campus Security. "What they basically do is detect explosives in motion."

Clark is working with Skeet.

"I’m kind of head strong and stubborn and I got the same thing - he's a working machine,” said Clark.

"The handler certainly knows when the dog picks up a scent and how it is tracking a scent. Once that happens, the dog will indicate to the handler - in a very clear way - that it has picked up a scent," said Smith.

These dogs will be put to work to protect people at other high profile events on and off campus in the community where large crowds will attend.

Their first test will be this weekend. They'll head to Michigan State to train with a Vapor-Wake dog there at the game.

Notre Dame’s Chief Deputy says they believe this is the new trend in law enforcement and given their high profile events they jumped at the chance to get them.

It costs $50,000 to get just one dog and the initial training. Notre Dame had a benefactor who covered the cost of the second dog.

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