On 18-19th April the 2nd JULIUS-K9® Rescue Dog Contest was held in Biatorbágy (Hungary), where the prizes and gifts were provided by JULIUS-K9®, the company giving its name to the contest. In addition to the contest, tests were also held at the event, as rescue dogs are required to meet strict requirements before their first real mission.
Tests are repeated every year, candidates can take part in three categories. Youngsters take an aptitude test, while the skills of more experienced quadrupeds are assessed in categories A and B. Over two days, at four locations the skills of more than 44 contestants were assessed at three different levels by Jaroslav Sedlák and Daniel Sedlák, experts from the International Rescue Dog Organisation (IRO).
The skills of rescue dogs can be assessed in tracking, area search and rubble search, from these we had the opportunity to gain a personal insight into the difficulties of area search. We accompanied Erzsébet Zachár, rescue dog handler of the Paw in Hand Association (Mancs a Kézben Egyesület), to the forest at the end of Iharos valley, where together with her Belgian Malinois called McAfee they demonstrated one of the toughest parts of the contest and test: McAfee had to search a wooded, bushy are for „a student who after a party wandered into the forest and got injured”. The area was quite large – candidates had to cover 20 thousand square meters in category „A”, while 40-50 thousand square meters in category „B”, and within a specified time: they had 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the level. In this case the search was performed by air scenting, as opposed to tracking, where dogs follow a scent on the ground.
McAfee indicated with intense barking when the search succeeded.
Although no treats are allowed in the contest, for our sake this time it was not omitted. McAfee, however, was more interested in the fresh, green, spring grass, eating some after the successful action.
See you next year in the 3rd JULIUS-K9 Rescue Dog Contest!