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How Search-and-rescue Dogs Work

By: Julia Layton & Sarah Gleim  | 

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More Great Links

  • "The Art of Heroism." http://www.petfinder.com/journalindex.cgi?path=/public/petsandthecommunity/careerswithanimals/1.41.10.txt. Dec. 16, 2005.
  • "Avalanche Training Overview." Comdens.com. http://www.comdens.com/SAR/avitrn-overview.html. Dec. 16, 2005.
  • K-9 Search and Rescue Team, Inc. http://www.k9team.org/. Dec. 16, 2005.
  • "SAR Dog Fact Sheet." NASAR. http://www.nasar.org/nasar/sar_dog_fact_sheet.php. Dec. 16, 2005.
  • "Search and Rescue Dogs." Working Dogs. http://www.workingdogs.com/doc0163.htm. Dec. 16, 2005.
  • "What do Search Dogs Do?" National Search and Rescue Dog Association. Dec. 16, 2005.http://www.nsarda.org.uk/what_do.shtml

Search and Rescue Dogs FAQ

How do search and rescue dogs work?
The job of a search and rescue dog has two components: Find the origin of a human scent and let the handler know where it is.
What is the best breed of dog for search and rescue?
German shepherds are a popular search and rescue breed. Hunting and herding dogs like Labrador and golden retrievers and border collies tend to be good at search and rescue work.
Is a search and rescue dog a service animal?
A service animal is typically trained to assist those with disabilities while a search and rescue dog is trained to help locate missing people in dire situations.
How do I get my dog certified for search and rescue?
Most SAR dogs live and train with their handler, and it takes about 600 hours of training for a dog to be field ready. The training uses a reward system to teach the dogs how to complete a task. The training starts out with very simple tasks and gets progressively more complex as the dog completes each level. Dogs have a natural inclination to locate scents -- SAR training involves letting a dog know which scent you'd like her to locate and where this scent might be. Each time the dog completes a task, she gets her reward.
What dogs are best for search and rescue?
Dogs that are obedient, attentive, have a friendly temperament, and possess a strong desire to please often make for the best search and rescue dogs.