K9-5: MINE DETECTION DOGS, SARAJEVO, BOSNIA
The Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) Global Training Center (GTC) for Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzogovina, was established in 2004 to breed and train dogs specifically for deployment in their Mine Action programs which clear landlines and explosives in more than 40 stages and territories around the World, particularly in Bosnia & Herzogovina and Cambodia. Its breeding program is the World's largest for MDD search dogs; in July 2013 there were around 160 dogs at the GTC undergoing various stages of training, together with trainee handlers, trainers and supervision staff. The Belgian Shepherd 'Malinois' is a strong working dog that is loyal, friendly and affectionate. It thrives when given a steady dose of play, cuddling, conversation, and tasks. Training begins at an early age to develop the skills to become a MDD: from seven weeks to around 18 months the dogs go through puppy training before beginning intensive mine detection training until around 24 months old. The cost of training one dog is around Euro 25,000 and the dogs reach 'peak' performance at around eight or nine years of age. Find out more about the NPA here.