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Dogs’ coping styles and dog-handler relationships influence avalanche search team performance

By Silvana Diverio, Laura Menchetti, Giacomo Riggio, Costanza Azzari, Martina Iaboni, Renato Zasso, Walter Di Mari, Michele Matteo Santoro

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Abstract

Avalanche search dogs are valuable resources in the event of environmental disasters. The aim of this study was to determine whether dog search strategies and dynamics of interaction with his handler influence team performance during a simulated avalanche search trial. This consisted in discovering a warm scented article, buried under the snow (−20cm), within a specific space and time frame (10min). Twelve dog-handler teams were enrolled in the trial. The dogs’ behaviour and dog-handler dynamics of interaction were video recorded and analysed using continuous focal animal sampling. The success of the trial was significantly related to the team (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 191
Pages 67-77
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.02.005
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Human-animal relationships
  3. Search and rescue