Saturday, 27 February 2010
An intense training program is under way in the Austrian Alps to teach dogs to find and dig out avalanche victims before they suffocate in the snow.
The five-day session near the village of Unken in Salzburg province involves about 20 dogs and their owners, all of whom belong to a regional volunteer canine rescue squad.
Organizers say they take a playful training approach and that it takes about two years for dogs to learn all the skills they need to save lives.
Each year, avalanches in the Alpine republic kill both locals and tourists.