Pioneering IED search dogs in the race to clear explosives

When ISIS retreated from Sinjar, a lethal legacy was left behind. Homes, roads, schools and farmland were left boobytrapped with IEDs, many of them disguised as or triggered by everyday objects.

These horrific weapons were deliberately left to target civilians. As families begin to return to claim their ancestral land, MAG teams are racing to find every explosive item before an unsuspecting child does.

Manual deminers use metal detectors to find explosives. This means that every signal needs to be investigated, be it scrap metal or an explosive. Our new IED detection dogs are trained to sniff out specific components of IEDs, making the work much faster and more accurate. On average, each dog clears around 1,000m2 per day.

Meet our IED dogs and their handlers

Click through the images below to meet some of the team!

Part of what makes our IED search dog teams so effective is the strong bond between dog and handler. Our dogs come to us at around 18 months old and, on average, work with their handler for the next 10 years. When they retire, most of them go home with their handlers or close family members.

Our staff work with their dogs to create strong bonds. They love working together towards a common goal and in exchange for a reward - whether that be a treat, a toy or just affection from their favourite person!

The tireless efforts of our teams in Iraq are enabling communities to return home safely and begin the slow process of rebuilding their lives. A donation from you today could help continue this life-saving work. Thank you.

All images by Sean Sutton/MAG