What Sets Us Apart

Pioneering: For more than a decade WDC has  developed and refined the training and field techniques for conservation detection dogs.  By mixing techniques from narcotic, search and rescue, and cadaver detection, and combining these with ongoing innovation, WDC remains at the forefront in the conservation detection dog field.

Human-Canine Bonds: Our dogs live with the same people who train and handle them in the field.  This creates strong bonds and mutual understanding between the dog and their trainer/handlers. These bonds are critical for maintaining high standards, as dogs and handlers that understand each other’s body language are more comfortable with and responsive to each other. In challenging field situations, for example where samples are old and degraded, or when scents vary from the training samples, both dogs and handlers need to make adjustments,  and the bonds built through strong handler-dog relationships are the foundation for that collaboration.

Collecting samples in the field requires careful handling to preserve DNA and prevent contamination. Aimee Hurt collects Cross River Gorilla scats for genetic and pathogen sampling in Cameroon.

Partnership Model: Partnerships are at the center of our “business model.”  WDC is focused on what we do best: gathering high-quality samples efficiently and reliably.  We choose our partnerships carefully, according to the conservation issue, each partner’s roles and the conservation impact.  WDC has grown despite the recent economic downturn, largely because our partners have focused their efforts on fieldwork that maximizes the conservation returns for their financial investment.  In many cases that focus and need for efficiency leads to Working Dogs for Conservation.

Dog Life Program: Complementing WDC’s strong technical foundation are equally strong ethics. We believe that working dogs living with their trainer/handlers do better work and have longer careers, but we’re also committed to them after their careers end. Our dogs have rock-solid retirement packages- they give us everything they’ve got when they’re in the field, and we feel they deserve it.


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