Beagle alerts on bag/nothing happens.

I just returned from Hawai’i, where something incomprehensible happened. I was sitting in the airport, waiting for my flight. As I waited, a USDA beagle with two handlers did a walk though the departure lounge. I was briefly thankful that I had packed nothing more incriminating than chocolate chip cookies, and watched the dog do his stuff.

I know beagles, having lived with one for three years. I also know how sniffer dogs are trained. They alert by sitting down, not by showing overt interest in a bag.

I was in the second-to-last row. Until the dog reached my row, he alerted on nothing. He showed some interest in my bag (probably the cookies), but didn’t sit. He did alert on a bag owned by a woman sitting immediately to my left, though. No doubt about it. The beagle sat after sniffing the bag, and immediately looked at his handler, who rewarded him with a food treat Otherwise, the handler did nothing.

After completing the walk though the lounge, the handler and beagle repeated their trip though one row, and one row only. Once again, the only alert was on my neighbor’s bag. Once again, the beagle got a food treat. I figured something interesting would take place soon.

Nothing did. The beagle brigade left, and 20 minutes later, the woman and her bags boarded the plane (ruling out the possibility that she was a plant to test the dog.)

WTF? Anyone have any clue why she was given a pass?

Maybe they were testing the dog, and the woman was a plant.

Just because she actually rode on the airplane doesn’t mean she wasn’t a plant.

Sniffer dogs need a certain number of positive “hits” over time to stay motivated. If they aren’t getting enough real hits the handlers will stage a few

I remember on a flight from New Zealand another passenger was asked to allow the handler to put a dummy package into her bag before she got in line for customs. The dog found it, but they didn’t take the package from her right then. I lost track of her and didn’t see when, or if, they got it back.

So, it might just have been the same thing you saw.

And it was a beagle as well.

Is it possible that that beagle simply was trained to alert differently?