Training a dog for search and rescue is a long and arduous task. However, when these dogs are done with their training, they’re able to find signs of live humans under snow using their noses. This article will go into detail how to train your dog for search and rescue application.
The most important quality in a Search and Rescue (SAR) team is courage. Without courage there can be no successful SAR dog. There is also a trait that runs a close second, intelligence. I don’t mean the dog needs to be a rocket scientist but he needs to know his job and do what you ask of him when you ask it. One of the ways this is achieved is training him from the very beginning to think for himself and not just perform what his body knows, although the handler still needs to point him in the right direction.
Training a dog for search and rescue is a long and arduous process. It can take anywhere from two to five years, depending on the breed of dog and its personality.
The first step in training a dog for search and rescue is to get it used to wearing a harness, which will be its primary method of transportation when it goes out into the field. A harness needs to be fitted properly, so that it doesn’t choke or restrict the movement of your dog.
Your next step is to teach your dog how to work with you as a team by using positive reinforcement techniques. For example, if you want your dog to follow commands, you might reward them with treats or praise after they comply with what you’ve asked them to do. The more consistent you are with this technique over time, the better chance your dog has at learning how to follow orders without hesitation once they’re out in public places like parks or hiking trails where there are lots of distractions around them (like other dogs!).
Once your dog has mastered basic obedience training techniques like sitting still on command and walking politely on leash (without pulling), then it’s time for some advanced training exercises! These include things like scenting
The best way to train a dog for search and rescue is to start young.
The younger the dog, the easier it will be to train them, because they are more malleable and impressionable. This means that you can actually teach your dog how to search in less time than it would take an older dog.
The first thing you’ll want to do is introduce your dog to equipment like harnesses and leashes. You can use treats or toys as rewards for good behavior when introducing these items.
You should also start teaching your dog basic commands like sit and stay before trying anything more advanced like finding a human being buried beneath rubble.
Once your dog has mastered some basic commands, then you can begin teaching them how to find people by following their scent trail.
This is not something that comes naturally for dogs, so it may take some time for your pet to learn how this works. But once they do learn how it works, then they will be able to use this skill in real life situations where people need help finding someone who has gone missing or been injured during an earthquake or other natural disaster scenario where there is no power grid available for search teams using electronic devices instead of relying on man
Training A Dog For Search And Rescue
Experts estimate that a single search-and-rescue dog can search the same area as approximately 50 people on foot — and in far less time. How? First it’s partly due to their keen sense of smell. Dogs have 220 million scent receptors, compared to humans’ 5 million. But they’re also fast.
Time is always an issue in search and rescue. In an avalanche, for instance, statistics show that more than 90 percent of people buried in snow can be rescued alive if they’re dug out within 15 minutes. However, after 45 minutes, only about 20 to 30 percent are still alive, and after two hours almost no one buried by an avalanche is found alive. That means SAR dogs are invaluable in locating people alive when time is critical.
SAR dogs can do a lot of amazing things, including rappel down mountainsides with their handlers, locate a human being within a 1640-foot (500-meter) radius, find a dead body under water, climb ladders and walk across an unstable beam in a collapsed building, but it’s all toward a single end: Finding human scent. This may be in the form of a living person, a dead body, a human tooth or an article of clothing. SAR dogs find missing persons, search disaster areas for survivors and bodies, and locate evidence at crime scenes, all by focusing on the smell of a human being.
This all might sound difficult to you, but to a SAR dogs, it’s a breeze. Human beings are smelly creatures — they constantly shed dead skin cells called rafts, which contain bacteria and smell, well, distinctly human. While it’s impossible to know for sure, most experts believe that SAR dogs are smelling these rafts, which form a “scent cone” that the dogs can easily pinpoint when they’re performing a search. Everyone’s skin cells smell unique, which is how a SAR dog can smell an item of clothing and search specifically for the last person who wore it.
While some dogs exhibit a stronger desire to scent than others, every canine out there has a powerful sense of smell. SAR dogs may be purebreds or mutts. Some handlers have a breed of choice, but any medium-to-large dog in good physical health, with decent intelligence, good listening skills, a non-aggressive personality and a strong play/prey drive (an intense, enduring desire to retrieve a toy) can potentially go into search and rescue.
SAR dogs need to be big enough to successfully navigate treacherous terrain and push debris out of the way and yet small enough to transport easily. German shepherds are a popular SAR breed; they’re typically smart, obedient and agile, and their double-layered coat insulates against severe weather conditions. Hunting and herding dogs like Labrador and golden retrievers and border collies tend to be good at SAR work, too, because they have a very strong prey drive. Many people consider bloodhounds to be the best breed for tracking. Their giant ears and facial folds collect and concentrate scent particles right at their nostrils, making their sense of smell extremely powerful and discerning.