Today, the St. Bernards are trained in accordance with modern criteria for working in various rescue services — in particular, they are used to eliminate the consequences of natural disasters and to search for missing people.
The training of St. Bernard is started from 5-6 months of age, starting training the dog with the general laws of obedience and the development of mental balance and composure in times of danger. The subsequent training program provides for the further development of mutual understanding between the dog and the owner, who commands her to look for a pre-hidden object, and then people by smell.
Due to such exercises, the dog very quickly learn to find exactly what you need without making mistakes. The most capable dogs are then used to search for people buried not only under avalanches, but also under the rubble of buildings, as well as during fires. In different countries of Europe, as well in the USA, there are “rescue clubs” for a long time, which are engaged in preparing St. Bernards for natural disaster rescue operations.
Swiss Schumacher, dog handler and pioneer of training St. Bernards He described the work of these dogs in 1867: “Two males, one young and one elderly, leave the monastery every morning and run around the side of the pass in a 12–13 km stretch. They reach the most remote huts, adapted for the rest of travelers.
Even in the conditions of heavy snowfall, they easily find a path, trodden in the snow to the gates of the shelter. The dogs themselves and pave the path at the beginning of each winter, trampling and leveling deep snow. For this purpose, they use their mighty breasts and massive paws.
They are so well oriented in the fog, with snowfall and blizzards, that they can be fully relied on as guides. No matter how incredible it may seem, these dogs, even in the dark, do not move a foot from the trail, surprisingly avoiding all crevices, including those hidden under the snow. Many often go in pairs. As a rule, a young St. Bernard, accompanied by a mature and experienced, in case one dies, the other will bring their overall work to the end. ”