Excerpts: Dogs have been used successfully for years by military and law enforcement. Dogs and their handlers are the most widely used, accurate, durable and flexible system available for detecting illegal drugs and explosives. A critical aspect of canine performance is their effective duty cycle.
Duty Cycle of the Detector Dog
A baseline study funded by a grant from the FAA
Duty cycle of the detection dog refers to the amount of time the dog will work without observed deterioration in its detection performance. Not only is the duty cycle defined by actual performance, hits, misses, false alarms, but also by rate of searching and willingness to search. Traditionally, within the canine detection community the most frequently stated duty cycle is 30 minutes. However, within the context of the study; the maximum effective duty cycle under moderate environmental conditions was at least 91-120 minutes of continues searching. Data show that elapsed search time, total search duration, and search order were not related to probability of detection. In summary, the data showed that all four dogs were willing and able to work as long as asked, the dogs did not provide their own limits. The conditions of the study did not exceed their capabilities to work for extended periods. Variables were heat, humidity, body temperature, size of search setting and number and distribution of hides.
full article: duty cycle