A training day for anti-poison dog units
A training day for anti-poison dog units of the LWA EU took place on the 22nd of June . The new anti-poison dog units involved were those from Liguria (RELI), Lombardia Region (RELO), and the University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna (VUW).
Training is very important to monitor the dogs’ progress, evaluate their performance, and work on any deficiencies. Meetings like these are also very important for teamwork, to foster coordination between different anti-poison canine units which is essential for performance on the field.
What does anti-poison dog training consist of? Dogs learn to identify and report a target object, which at the beginning is a neutral scent, in different environmental contexts (field, forest and road) and within a different range of action: from a limited area to a very large one. Then specific target smells, like meat, eggs or different poisons are introduced and also trained in different environments.
At this meeting, for the first time all new canine units from the project where present together and had the opportunity to train together. This offered the possibility to learn from each other by watching the other units train and to exchange experiences.
The training of the anti-poison dog units is part of the A3 action of LWA EU, and is crucial for the line-up of the new anti-poison teams that will operate in the frame of action C2. Anti-poison dog teams are crucial for preventing and mitigating the effects of poison on fauna thanks to their ability to identify poisoned baits and carcasses with toxic substances.
Illegal poisoning is a terrible and devious threat, unfortunately still very widespread in Italy and Europe (at this link you can find the map of confirmed cases of malicious poisoning in Italy). The main victims are carnivores and birds of prey, especially vultures. The poison does not just poison and kill the animal that ingests the poisoned bait, but also all those who eat its carcass. But it also poses a threat to domestic dogs and cats.