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Projects of the joint German-Austrian call

R&D- Support Actions >Call 2019 >

Deployment and training of personal tracking dogs (PSH)

Investigate principles for deployment of personal tracking dogs, evaluating the existing training program and obtaining information from other European police authorities.

Personal tracking dogs/man trailing dogs (PSH) search for individually human scent. Comparing the h-man scent on an article with the scent in the environment, they find and follow the scent of the matched human. Police uses personal tracking dog to persecute criminals and to find missing persons. With personal tracking dog´s police can also secure evidence.
PSH are trained by the Austrian police since 2016. This type of training was not available to date, therefore to develop the training concept Austrian police was supported by foreign police units.
After the first training cycle, besides questions about quality and efficiency of the actual training, also principle questions about mission of personal tacking dogs were raised. An important issue seems to be the quality of the scent article – what´s the optimal composition of the scent article so that dogs can easily match the related human scent. What scent components do dogs follow in the field and how old may these components be, that a dog can identify the related human and follow the according track. All these questions are important for a successful search mission.
The related proposal was developed to answer these questions. The first step is to collect and analyse experiences from other European countries. When and under what circumstances do police units from all over Europe utilize these dogs and how do they train them?
Furthermore, the success of the first training cycle of personal tracking dogs in Austria will be evaluated. Goals and achieved results will be compared, if necessary goals for the training will be modified. By accompanying the planned PSH training, the goals and the methods are evaluated again and adjusted, if necessary.
All police dogs (PDH) in Austria are first trained in use of force and as air scenting dogs. Afterwards they receive special training. Particularly talented dogs are trained as special tracking dogs. For personal tracking dogs the Austrian police uses a different approach. These dogs are trained to follow individual human scent at the beginning and afterwards they get basic training in use of force and air scenting. To have a wider comparison of the competences of personal tracking dogs, the Bavarian police is also part of our consortium. In contrast to the Austrian police, these Bavarian dogs are trained as specialists only. This raises the question whether the quality and performance of these dogs is influenced by the training concept? As a consequence, the performance of these different dogs shall be compared by field experiments. Also, the influence of the scent article and the age of the track will be investigated by field experiments.
The project results are important for the training of personal tracking dogs and should be implemented in the ongoing training quickly. On the other hand, these results are also important for rescue organizations searching for missing people and they should benefit from the results of this study too. 

Project leader
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Berninger, FB Umwelt & Biodiversität, Paris-Lodron Universität Salzburg

List of project or cooperation partners
Bayerische Bereitschaftspolizei
Bundesministerium für Inneres
Johanniter Österreich Ausbildung und Forschung gem. GmbH

Contact
Dr. Leopold Slotta-Bachmayr
Universität Salzburg
FB Umwelt & Biodiversität
Hellbrunnerstr. 34
A- 5020 Salzburg
Telefon: 0664/2828667
E-Mail: leopold.slotta-bachmayr@plus.ac.at 
Homepage im WWW: https://www.plus.ac.at/umwelt-und-biodiversitaet/