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Training a mine detection rat

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  • Socialization

    Once the rats open their eyes at the age of four weeks, they are socialized to interact with people and get used to the various stimuli of our world.

  • Click training and scent conditioning

    The click sound is established as a conditioned reinforcer associated with a food reward. Once the rat learns that click means food, it will now have to search for the target scent, TNT, to earn this reward.

  • TNT scent discrimination

    The rat is offered a choice between various scents placed beneath 3 sniffer holes. Only when it pauzes above the target scent, the click and food treat will teach the rat this was the correct response.

  • Soil floor search

    The rat will continue its search for the target scent, but now it is hidden in a sandbox. The rat learns to walk in lanes and return to its trainer for some banana after each correct indication.

  • Field training

    For the first time, the rats enter a real field with deactivated landmines. They will first detect surface laid mines on a small surface to, and move gradually to deeper mines in larger areas.

  • Blind test and accreditation

    In this final test the rats will have to earn their ticket to the countries of operation. They are rigorously tested with higher requirements compared to the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS).