Training a Search and Rescue Dog
If you have had the opportunity to watch a search and rescue dog in action, you can’t help but to be impressed with the intelligence and drive they display. I have had the opportunity to watch search and rescue dogs in actions while I was deployed in Iraq, we worked hand and hand with the K-9 handlers on the Entry Control Points in Baghdad. The best experience I have had with working with Search and Rescue dogs would be in my own backyard, working with my wife Heather, she has trained Search and Rescue dogs for local Law enforcement Departments. The process of taking a puppy to a mature search and rescue dog, who can move with silent commands, in and out of area they are searching, only to disappear and then reappear is an emotional and committed journey. In a moments notice the K9 will stop and sit, then give a bark or silent physical indication such a “down”, that signals here is what we are looking for. It is an amazing feat. The first step to training a search and rescue dog, is determine which breed of dog you want to work with and if that dog is suitable for the environment it will be working in. The most common dogs used in search and rescue are German Shepherds. The German Shepherds are mostly used in Law enforcement, but some law enforcements will use Belgian Malinios, a cousin of the German Shepherd. Agencies such as “TSA” work with Black Labs, Beagles, Terriers and some rescue dogs with an aptitude for higher learning. These breeds and mixes are not as intimidating looking as the Shepherd breeds and are able to move in and out of places like airports with less notice. However, the German shepherd with its great intelligence, loyalty and work ethic, their physique which allows them train and run for hours has been and remains a favorite among all working dog trainers and agencies who utilize them. You need to determine if you want a female or a male, either sex works well. The only issue one may run...
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