Human-animal partnership is essential to business success
Roberto Jones – Special for Diary
During the last two tragedies in Petropolis, sniffer dogs played an essential role in rescuing and searching for rain victims. However, few people know how these animals are trained and worked. Diario called veterinarian and trainer Alexandre Calmon to explain these procedures.
According to him, search and rescue dogs are selected from puppies, which speeds up the entire training process, cost and effectiveness. This training is divided into objectives and stages, there are dogs with scents for living victims and others for victims who are dead, dogs with nonspecific scents or dogs that track specific scents. “In light of this, we have set up training, emphasizing that dogs are our priority, are always handled with the utmost care and trained with moments of pure fun in the world of animal behaviour,” he said.
For this business to be successful, it is important that the veterinarian and coach are involved in forming a multidisciplinary team. Among the key elements of training are: co-selection, risk analysis and vaccination protocols, health and food management, schedules, duration and intensity of training, physiological, physical and clinical monitoring of animals, and performance analysis until certification or binomial approval, man and dog pairs. “This relationship appears in daily practice and in real searches, where everything flows without stress for the team and the dogs.”
dog and man
Dogs, although paired with a person, are not necessarily from these trainers, they can be from a private or public establishment. But Alexander points out that the results are infinitely greater with an intimate relationship between the dog and its handler and that, given the investments in training both, it is recommended.
The training of each dog is different and is carried out against play, using the largest and best characteristics that distinguish it from all other animals, usually its nose. “The search always ends well and the dogs are happy, even if the end is poor in understanding men. Searches are the best time of the day for these dogs, it is time to play. They smell and practice satiety for being happy dogs.”
The coach reports that all searches are great, with joy and sadness, but always brings experiences so that you can be more successful in future searches. One of the most recent was in the case of the young Gabriel. “We witness the determination, courage, stubbornness and love of a father who relentlessly sought his son. This in the face of certainty of his immeasurable loss, he had the head to search for us across town on a motorbike to thank and hug every member of our team.”
He also talks about saving a girl in Nepal, whose culture is so different from the Brazilian culture, that the family provided lunch for them to help them. And also for a kidnapped man who unfortunately did not have a happy ending, but family and friends became close to the rescuers. “Our work goes beyond sniffing dogs. We bring hope, comfort, joy and allow, even in the worst cases where fatal victims are found, for the family to live out their sorrows, which are already very difficult, and without proper cultural closure, they are eternally present. The motto of our team is: Full respect for families, full respect for dogs, and total dedication and responsibility to our work.”