dog handlers train in Béarn before the avalanche season


Friday’s work revolved around finding people.

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The dog teams, made up mainly of trackers-rescuers but also firefighters, came from all over the Pyrenees: Pyrénées-Orientales, Haute-Garonne, Ariège, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The young teams in preparation for their dog-handler certificate rubbed shoulders with more experienced pairs. Avalanche dog handlers are particularly called upon when it is necessary to locate a person swept away and buried in a snowslide.

Pairs from all over the Pyrenean chain were present.


Pairs from all over the Pyrenean chain were present.

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Socialization and research

For this, the dog handlers have several annual appointments: among the most important, that of autumn and another in spring in Andorra. Thursday 20, the meeting was held on the grounds of the Canis club Pau. “The work focused on socialization, obedience and crossing, explains Jean-Michel Morlot, dog technical adviser of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service, trainer of avalanche dog handlers and departmental representative of Anena. On a large operation, there may be several dogs, it is important to put them in contact. »

Friday training took place around Gourette.


Friday training took place around Gourette.

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“We were able to have a small demonstration of the canine team of the municipal police of Pau and discuss with them about our specialties”, adds Jean-Michel Morlot.

Young dogs rubbed shoulders with more experienced animals.


Young dogs rubbed shoulders with more experienced animals.

GCSR 64

The avalanche dog handlers then went to a more familiar environment for them, the mountains. A night job in the woods was planned but had to be canceled due to bad weather conditions. Regardless, the technicians took the direction of Gourette to carry out research exercises.

mountain dwellers

Last season, at least April at Lées-Athas, a team was mobilized after a father was buried in an avalanche. Thanks to the promptness of four members of the French Alpine Club who took the man out, the pair did not need to put their abilities to work.

“A good dog handler is first of all a mountain dweller who can bring his companion during an operation: on a hike, on snowshoes or in a helicopter”, delivers the canine technical adviser from Sdis 64. The canine must have a character sociable, playful and sporty for efficient work. Avalanche dogs have careers that average eight to nine years.

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