Rio De Janeiro, May 26: Police dogs in Brazil are more used to sniffing out drugs than explosives, but with the Olympics coming up, they have been training hard to help thwart potential terrorist attacks.
Although Brazil has never suffered a terrorist attack on its soil, it is on high alert for any threats at the Games, which open in Rio de Janeiro on August 5.
To prepare, the Rio Canine Intervention Brigade just completed a two-week training with specialists from a French elite police force, RAID.
The dogs showed off their new skills Wednesday in exercises at Rio's international airport. Tails wagging and tongues lolling, they eagerly followed their human counterparts around an airport security zone to clear it for the arrival of a hypothetical VIP -- sitting and whining when they found a hidden "bomb."
"The Rio Canine Intervention Brigade hadn't been trained in this type of approach," said RAID trainer Christophe B., who withheld his full name for security reasons. But "Brazilian dogs are just as effective as French ones when you look at the number of drug seizures they make," he added.
Labrador legend -Rio has ample experience with violent crime fueled by drug trafficking, which has pitted the police and military against heavily armed gangs in the poor shantytowns known as favelas that dot the city. So do its police dogs.