Competition aims to improve dog training techniques
The best canine patrol officers in Ukraine are competing in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson this week. These animals are all currently a part of the customs protection operations. Most of them have been in service over a year and some are even close to retirement.
The four-legged border guards show off their skills in several different events during the competition. One of the tasks here is to find bullets hidden somewhere in a container.
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The dogs, of course, don't leave without a reward, a favourite toy is always a hit.
Another test for the competitors is to find a grenade. That's no easy task when there are plenty of other objects around. Despite having to spend some time searching for the dangerous weapon, all of the dogs are able to locate it in a timely manner.
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But there is a trick here. The head of the canine unit at the regional customs office of Ukraine says it's important the dogs don't touch the grenade.
Kostyantyn Seleman, Canine Unit Director, Ukrainian Border Patrol: "There should be no contact, meaning the dog needs to either lay or sit down beside the grenade or bark to warn someone."
Other tasks included finding guns and explosives. All of these canine unit professionals easily found them.
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Canine border guards usually work for about 8 years, then they retire. Although there are some cases where dogs remain in service past retirement age.
Evhen Sydorov, Ukrainian Border Patrol Cynologist: "These dogs have seen everything, from all types of guns to pills with narcotics in them, and they all managed to be located thanks to their amazing skills."
The competition is not only about the dogs, it also helps local patrol officers compare training techniques and add improvements to their daily work routines.