Dog Appointed to Sniff out Leaks and Broken Pipes


Dogs have proved to be extremely valuable in public life and are known to provide invaluable services such as being assistance dogs, guide dogs and sniffer dogs. Another way dogs can now help is by finding water leaks in faulty piping.

The First Leak Detecting Dog

For the first time in Britain, a sniffer dog has been trained to hunt down water leaks. The 16-month-old cocker spaniel Snipe, has received weeks of intensive training from ex-military personnel. The dog is now able to detect issues with pipes by sniffing out the small amounts of chlorine in tap water.

Intensive Training

During his training, Snipe was first exposed to normal tap water. Gradually, his trainers started including small doses of chlorine. By the end of his training, Snipe had gradually learned that the strong chlorine odour is what he needs to detect. The dog was given eight glass pots of water, one of which contained chlorine. When he found the correct one, he was rewarded with a tennis ball.

Finding Water Leaks Could be Greatly Beneficial

Water company, United Utilities, who supplies around three million homes in the North West of England. have now recruited the canine. Snipe is the first dog to be used in the UK for water leak protection. He will be employed in trials to asses if he is able to function in real-life situations. If successful, Snipe will highlight water wastage in rural areas, therefore finding leaks that are harder to detect. Doing so could help reduce levels of water wastage in the UK.

Now, Snipe can detect leaking water in a variety of environments and is functional in his new role. His new employees fix around 27,000 leaks per year. With a team consisting of 140 personnel, including drones, cameras and sound detection equipment. The inclusion of a dog is a first but there are high hopes that Snipe will be successful.

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