Covid-19 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Training Aids for Detector Canine Training and Testing

COVID-19 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) training aids for Detector Canine Training and Testing

Securesearch Inc. has been producing a range of trace scent marker pens since 1996, and offers them in more than 50 different scents for use by dog trainers and handlers. Our product range now includes the infected person’s viral scent of COVID 1-19 on the breath—but without the hazard of the virus.

In 2020 we were approached by the Government of Canada, and asked to propose the manufacture of a COVID-19 canine training aid for use by canine units of Canadian Customs Officers (Canada Border Services Agency) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among others. The canine handlers would use their trained canines to screen incoming travellers for COVID-19 at US/Canada vehicle border crossings, at airports, train stations and bus terminals.

Our research chemist collected a number of breath samples in special receptacles from people who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and from people who tested negative. The airtight sealed metal receptacles were sent to a highly specialized laboratory for extraction and analysis of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) contained in the breath of the infected persons.

The breath samples and their contents were compared to those samples collected from the non-infected people as a control group. The proportions of each of the VOCs in the breath samples were calculated and our research chemist was able to duplicate the COVID-19 VOCs in their proper proportions to develop a COVID-19 canine training aid.

The blend of VOC chemicals in those proportions was developed into a marker pen solution that does not contain any of the virus, because it only replicates the blend and proportions of what was extracted and analyzed from samples in the lab.

The marker pen contains traces of the blend of VOCs in a volatile, fast-evaporating solution. The pen has a spring-loaded valve at the tip that allows the user to meter out just the amount needed for canine training and testing. The fiber tip is pressed against a target surface or material; the fluid flows out through the tip, transfering a small amount of the solution. The canine trainer/handler then follows their training protocol for scent detection, using various rewards.

We have videos and photo images of the training protocols in use.

The scent solutions in all of our marker pens (and certain ones also offered in finger-pump spray bottles with no propellant), have been tested since 1996 by Bill Grimmer, in Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada at his canine training academy. Typically, a scent marker pen will last for up to one year, as only a very small amount is dispensed for each training or test session. Bill Grimmer is still using some scent marker pens that he received from us years ago, and still retain their potency. We recommend that the pens be stored in a refrigerator, and be transported in a vehicle in a cooler with ice or freezer packs, if the vehicle will be sitting outside closed in hot sun during the training or testing sessions. For further information, contact Bruce Koffler e-mail:

by phone or fax at (1-800) 452-3130 or cell: (416) 948-8832