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As more national and international disasters take place, the media has given press to the work of search and rescue dogs. As agencies around the world see first hand how efficient SAR dogs are, units are being formed all around the world. My husband and I have been involved with canine search and rescue since 1981. I get more and more requests for information about SAR dog training. Briefly I would like to mention what makes a successful SAR team. First, the handler is the main part of the team, not the dog. Many people think that the handler just follows his dog through the woods, buildings, rubble piles, etc. Nothing is further from the truth. The dog can only tell the handler where scent exists. The dog cannot tell the handler where the scent came from, nor in many cases the origin of the scent, and in some cases where the scent is going. Of course there are exceptions to this, but that depends on many factors. It is the handler who must decide how to use the dog and what the dog is finding. Most searches are not glamourous, fun, rewarding, or convenient.

It takes approximately three years for a dog/handler team to get good and be a real asset in the field. Not every dog wants to do SAR work and not every dog is suited for the work. SAR dog training is not the same as sport dog training. Many people think that if they have a title on their dog that they can just go in the field and find people. Experts in the field know that this is not true. People who try to do this put the life of the missing person on the line. For more information about SAR dog training and work see my books listed on this web site.

Also, check out www.nasar.org and one of England's links www.emergencyresponse.co.uk

Jib - Waiting to Serve


Copyright 2001 Susan Bulanda. All Rights Reserved.