meet elias, a gluten-detecting pooch.
Whoa. Talk about being inspired to start some nose-training exercises with The Gluten Free Lab’s unofficial canine member, Charlie (who also happens to be gluten-free, as many dogs also suffer gluten intolerance)! Time for Charlie to start pulling her own weight and detecting whether or not the food we’re about to consume has gluten in it. Apparently there’s a thing or two our pooch can learn from Elias, a Beauceron showdog who also happens to work as a “hardworking gluten-detection service dog” in his free time.
Elias “…spent weeks in Slovenia completing gluten-detection training late last year (he and Scott [his owner, pictured above] returned at the very end of November, then rested a couple of days before heading out for the Long Beach competition), and now he can detect and warn her away from anything containing gluten, hot or cold, in all its many manifestations.
“Teaching a dog to be alert to the scent of gluten is much more complicated than most scent-detection training, because gluten comes in so many forms…When it’s time for him to do the sniff test for Scott, she places a cover with holes over the item, and Elias does his thing. She practices with him every day with known gluten-containing foods to augment the products she hopes are gluten-free so he doesn’t lose his edge. When there’s gluten, Elias tries to pull it away from her; if it’s safe, he simply looks away.”
We’re hoping The Lab’s dog Charlie lands a face-to-face interview with Elias. Stand by for that.