Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Nancy's advice is good. I think that time/financial/training commitments are the big thing to discuss. That is what scares off the vast majority of new members. If your team is purely K9, I might also ask about their non-dog-related SAR skills training. Some K9 teams do a lot, but others don't offer much in the way of teaching land navigation skills, lost person behavior, emergency first aid/survival skills, etc. If you're going to have to learn to use a map and compass (for example) on your own, you'll have to factor that in to your decision.
I'd also ask if you can (or are expected to) attend a few training sessions without your dog. My team requires new members to attend at least 3 trainings without their dogs, and with the time my dog was evaluated, I wound up basically attending 4. It's a really good idea to do that so you at least have a basic framework for understanding the training, plus you will learn whether trudging through the wilderness in all kinds of weather after your dog, and hiding in the wilderness for other people's dogs, is really your thing.
Don't really worry about the no questions thing though. I didn't have any when I attended my first SAR event (I had very little warning...went from, "Hmm, K9 SAR sounds fun!" to "OMG they're evaluating my dog today!" in about 2 days due to the timing of my inquiry), so I was incredibly unprepared. At least with my team, it was more of a dialogue than me having to ask questions. They made sure to lay out all the team's requirements and expectations very clearly, and as we talked I asked for clarification on details they didn't mention. It was very comfortable and easy.
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!