As the Delhi Metro expands — a section of the Pink Line was thrown open to the public on March 14 — the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of the Metro rail network’s security, has also expanded the strength of its dog squad. For phase III of the Metro, eight more sniffer dogs, all female labradors, have been inducted into the force to help personnel protect vital installations. With this, the number of canines in the CISF dog squad has gone up to 60 — 31 labradors, 17 German shepherds, 10 cocker spaniels and two golden retrievers.
The CISF’s dogs are deployed at eight strategic locations on the Delhi Metro so they can sweep the maximum area. German shepherds can be aggressive, but labradors are generally friendly dogs and adjust easily to Delhi’s climate. Smaller in size compared to the rest of their squad-mates, cocker spaniels can easily sniff out objects in the area below seats on a Metro train.
“We prefer labradors and cocker spaniels for the job as they are people-friendly. While they are on the job, people try to touch them, but they never react aggressively,” said an official.
In case they find any suspicious bags, the dogs sit quietly near them. The dog standing still at a spot is a signal to the handlers that there is a suspicious object there. The handlers then inform the CISF officials about the bag for further action. The dogs are trained not to bark, growl, scratch or bite the object as it could trigger a bomb. “Though both male and female dogs have similar sniffing ability, female dogs are more attentive to their duty as compared to male dogs, who sometimes get disturbed by other smells in the air,” said a handler.