In this May 7, 2019 photo, student Jessie Show works with Luna, a springer spaniel whom she has trained to sniff out a fungus sample placed in a scent box at the State University of New York, Cobleskill, in Cobleskill, N.Y. Cobleskill’s canine program was a major deciding factor in choosing a college, said Show, who grew up near Scranton, Pennsylvania. She said she plans to train service dogs for people with physical handicaps. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)
COBLESKILL, N.Y. – The State University of New York at Cobleskill is launching a new four-year program in "canine training and management" amid a surge in demand for specially trained dogs to detect threats and assist veterans in the wake of 9/11.
While several institutions hand out training certificates and at least one small private college awards a bachelor's in dog handling, the program at Cobleskill is more ambitious in its scope.
Professor Stephen Mackenzie says he developed Cobleskill's Bachelor of Technology degree partly in response to a heightened demand for dogs capable of sniffing out explosives in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
The need for service dogs trained to assist those with post-traumatic stress disorder or reduced mobility has also expanded as veterans started returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.