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RTS :: Within the Serbian rescue group in Turkey and the canine Zigi

Dejan Ševković, handler of the service dog in the Mountain Rescue Service, explained in an interview with RTS what challenges the dog that searches for survivors in the ruins faces.

“In Turkey and Syria, the working conditions are very difficult, five-story buildings collapsed, in every apartment there was a bathroom with chemicals, there are many smells, food smells and everything in one place, the dog has to neutralize it all and look for buried ones. Excavators non they stop digging, everyone on the field is nervous, all of that is transferred to the dog, it has to be trained so well to neutralize all distracting factors and be focused. It’s a real challenge,” says Ševković.

He points out that each dog gets a segment that it searches, one area that, when it searches, if there is no one there, it goes to another place and thus it “clears the field”.

“The dog needs to pick up the scent from under the rubble and locate it, but also to neutralize the scents of the other rescuers – when it picks up a new scent, to notice that it is not the scent of the rescuer, but a new one, that is very difficult for the dog,” points out Ševković.

It is also important for the guide to recognize the body language of his dog in certain situations – when he has picked up a scent, to know where to stay, especially in ruins, he must determine the microlocation.

If the wind blows, the scent is carried to the other side and if the dog is not well trained, it can get lost, the GSS rescuer pointed out.

Ševković could not go to Turkey because his dog, a German shepherd, is domesticated. GSS dogs are mostly trained for outdoor work, and the training, which lasts about two and a half years, starts already when the puppy is two months old.

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