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Mountain Rescue Dog Special

Mountain Rescue Dog Special. Goldendoodle Merlin from the Naturavetal® family introduces himself

We have always been enthusiastic about how dogs can enrich the lives of their owners and which tasks and activities can make a dog blossom.

A dog is not only a member of the family, but also someone who can provide excellent support for people in their work. Whether as a therapy dog, like Lou or Alaska, as an avalanche dog, like Labrador Ivy, as a sniffer dog for mantrailing or as a mountain rescue dog.  Dogs can be used in various areas of work and have proven to enthusiastically perform outstanding work.
Their ability to concentrate, stamina and strength are decisively influenced by their diet, because only a healthy dog is able to realise its full potential.

Every dog lover has heard of them - specially trained rescue dogs that support their owners in rescue operations. But what does it actually look like when a Mountain Rescue Dog is deployed? What characterises a good Mountain Rescue Dog and what special qualities does it need to have?

In this article, Goldendoodle Merlin, the 7-year-old professional Mountain Rescue Dog from Austria and a big Naturavetal fan, talks about his career, with great insights into his everyday life with his wonderful family.

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Should you have any questions on this topic, we will be happy to provide you with comprehensive advice. 

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Naturavetal® Info

The Goldendoodle – a allergy free dog

The Goldendoodle combines the many positive characteristics of the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. It has been bred since around the 1990s. The Goldendoodle is not yet an independent dog breed, there are no uniformly defined breed standards, it is a so-called hybrid or designer dog. 

The Goldendoodle was originally bred as an "allergy free dog" and is often advertised as such nowadays, which has caused disappointment in some cases. The reason given for this is that the Poodle sheds less fur than most other dog breeds. However, it has already been scientifically proven that the amount of allergens in the coat of a Goldendoodle is no different to that of any other dog. This is actually logical when you consider that the Goldendoodle is not a Poodle, but a mixture of Golden Retriever and Poodle. Neither the development of its character nor the development of its external appearance can be precisely predicted. This also depends heavily on the parent animals. 

Nevertheless, the Goldendoodle is a great family dog and is also said to be suitable for beginner dog owners. Goldendoodles are considered to be eager to learn, intelligent, open-minded, cheerful and people-orientated. 

„Hello my dear human friends. I would like to briefly introduce myself...“
...I am Merlin, an original Goldendoodle from Bavaria and I just turned seven on 22 February 2022. My family and I live in Gmunden and I am a member of the mountain rescue team there.

Yes, you read that right, I am a Goldendoodle and a Mountain Rescue Dog. You're probably wondering how to become a Mountain Rescue Dog and what my tasks are? My owner and I have decided to train as a search and avalanche rescue dog. To give you a good insight, I'll tell you about one of my missions.

Merlin - a Mountain Rescue Dog in action

My master has this rectangular thing, people call it a mobile phone, and sometimes when it makes a noise, things get really hectic at home and everyone shouts and I have to come immediately. My family then tells me that someone has called the mountain rescue service and needs my help. My master gets changed, he puts on my favourite outfit, I get my collar from the mountain rescue service and then we run to the car and step on the gas.

We either drive directly to the location, but it's even cooler if we are picked up by helicopter at a prearranged location. You have to know that I love flying in helicopters. When we arrive on the avalanche, Lorenz, who is my boss tells us (my team, my master and I) where to look. I wait until my master puts the yellow search harness on me and then I have to concentrate fully, block out everything and just listen to my master. He then tells me with hand signals in which direction I should run. I have to concentrate very hard, because as soon as I catch a scent, I follow it. When I am very close to the scent, I start barking loudly. This is very important because it shows my master that I have found someone and that he has to come here immediately. My master can then stick a very long rod, he calls it a probe, into the snow to find out whether I was right or not. If I am, then suddenly lots of my human colleagues come and start digging. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to join in, although I have to say that I'm really good at digging. I search for  about 15 minutes, then I need a break, but then I can search two more times.

Afterwards, I'm totally foxed and look forward to a snack at home, which my two  owners always prepare for me straight away. I usually get an egg, because that's my favourite food. It's important that I get high-energy food, as I require a lot of energy when I'm out and about, but also when I'm training.

I can also search in the woods, meadows and mountains in summer, which the boss calls rummaging, but I have more fun in the snow.

Lawinensuchhund in Ausbildung - Merlins Werdegang

Now that you know how it works, let me explain how I became a Mountain Rescue Dog.

My family picked me up when I was eight weeks old, I knew straight away that they were the best family in the world and they said the same about me. The first three months with my family were very nice, I have a big sister, a husky, and a very big garden where I romp around with my human siblings. When I was about four months old, I met Lorenz and as I had never barked before, my family put me on a leash on a tree in the garden and made mischief in front of me until I was so exuberant that I barked. Whenever I barked, I got a treat. When I could bark well and was about six months old, my owner and I went to training for the first time. There I met all my current friends.

From then on, we trained and still train in a large group six times a year for two to four days at a time, with training in a smaller group every fortnight in between. My owner had especially bought me a sausage treat. But I wasn't allowed to play with it immediately, I had to earn it.

When I train, a colleague of Herrli's, hides with her. When I find him, I have to bark and only then does he start playing with me. I tell you, it's worth the effort every time, because playing is so much fun. After such a search, I take a break and it's the turn of one of my friends to practise with their master. Sometimes my owner hides and is the missing person for one of my friends to find.

Mountain rescue dog - what requirements should the dog and owner fulfil

As an avalanche search dog, says my master and his boss, you should have a long pointed nose so that you can pick up and follow the scents particularly well. Training should ideally start at six months, as it did for me, and I will retire at around ten years of age, so I still have a lot of work to do before then. My master also needed training, he is a trained mountain rescuer. But I have to say, with his two skis he has no chance against my four paws, he has never won against me, although he is very fast.

„My life is a doggy paradise and I love my job.“
Your Goldendoodle Merlin

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by phone. We are here to help you with comprehensive advice. You can reach us Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by phone at 020 8531 7804 or mail info@naturavetal.co.uk.

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