In its effort to make the airport security screening process faster, the Transportation Security Administration is employing new high-tech baggage scanners, facial-recognition cameras and “automated lanes” to eliminate passenger gridlock.
But TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency is also making at least one new change to reduce traveler stress: deploying more floppy-ear dogs, rather than pointy-ear dogs, to sniff out explosives in public areas.
During a recent tour of Washington Dulles International Airport, Pekoske told the Washington Examiner that his agency believes floppy-ear dogs are less intimidating to travelers than dogs with pointy ears.
“We find the passenger acceptance of floppy-ear dogs is just better,” he said. “It presents just a little bit less of a concern. Doesn’t scare children.”
The TSA has more than 900 teams of officers and explosive-sniffing dogs either screening passengers at airports or sniffing cargo and baggage behind the scenes. About a third of those dogs interact with passengers in airports, according to the TSA.
The agency says it trains seven breeds of dogs: German shepherds (pointy ears), Labrador retrievers (floppy ears), German shorthaired pointers (floppy ears), wirehaired pointers (floppy ears), Vizslas (floppy ears), Belgian Malinois (pointy ears) and golden retrievers (floppy ears).