The very real science of dogs using their noses to do clever things is being put to new use in the north east, where a water-sniffing dog is being used to see if holes in water pipes can be uncovered without everyone having to get the shovels out.
The trick to the dog's success in detecting leaks is the chlorination process. The hope is that the local supply's one part per million chlorine dilution is enough of a clue for the 16-month-old dog to find leaky pipes, with the animal's trainers teaching the thing to sit still and stare at the source of a leak; like a water diviner only not entirely fictional and only needing to be paid in biscuits.
United Utilities is trialling the doggie system, with the animal's trainer Ross Stephenson explaining: "Using dogs to search for drugs and explosives is well known, but there are a host of other applications that we are only just starting to explore. We’re really excited by the progress Snipe is making and we hope that soon water leak sniffer dogs will be a common sight." [United Utilities via The Times]