Search-and-rescue dogs are, indeed, air-scenting.At 08.00 the GNR Search and Rescue sniffer dog team came into action, searches were begun from the resort in the direction of the beach, covering a 2 km area; in Praia da Luz 300m radius searches were made as well searches of abandoned houses, wells and waste land, the radius subsequently being expanded to 600m including the verges of the EN 125 motorway.
Subsequently an attempt was made to reconstruct the route taken by Madeleine by giving the dogs a blanket/towel used by her, but the results were not significant, given that the dogs are more trained for use in rural areas rather than urban or populated areas, the existence of more odours in the air making it impossible for the tracker dog to identify/locate the “target smell”.
Search and rescue dogs are, indeed, air-scenting, not ground-scenting, dogs.
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I think, confirms my initial impression that the GNR dog-handlers attempted (in good faith) a tracking exercise to try to find Madeleine with air-scenting dogs.