The military cynological center is currently training one service Belgian Shepherd under the new program. The dog is being trained to import a special tube containing coronavirus odor molecules that have been extracted from an infected medical mask. When a tube is found, the dog is rewarded with a treat. In the coming days, dog handlers will begin the test phase of detecting the virus using an infected protective mask.
To ensure the safety of the service dog and the dog handler, the tubes and masks are treated with ultraviolet radiation, thus the virus is deactivated. The test phase will last until the end of July. Then the military will analyze the results of the work done.
“It’s not news that our service dogs can detect various substances. In addition to dogs for detecting military substances, we also have dogs for detecting drugs that can smell explosives or drugs by smell. <…> We are currently in the testing phase of the so-called sniffer dog for coronavirus. She must “sniff out” the disease in people. The testing phase should determine whether this special training will become an integral part of the military dog training center, ”Defense Secretary Claudia Tanner said in a statement.
A total of 166 dogs serve in the Austrian Armed Forces. They are involved in operations domestically and abroad.