Can't believe I missed this thread!
OK, so WA is trying to set standards that are state wide but doesn't have it cemented and thus, mandatory, yet.. HOWEVER, most teams and definitely reputable ones, require Washington state core competency requirements to be completed for each volunteer. Now those requirements are just for the human (map, compass, first aid, cpr, and, wilderness survival etc etc).
Most teams require their dogs to be certified by reputable agencies (NASAR, NSDA, ASCT, NAPWDA, IWPDA, AWPDA, etc). These agencies tend to have a minimum age requirement for the health of the dog, of 12mos..honestly, only a few of those agencies I've found really expect the highest standards of those certified... But each team has the right to set their standards for mission ready status. Whether or not they will be used by the DEM, sheriff's, or whomever agency calls them out... That is another story.
My girl certified at a high level of trailing before she was a year and a half... We train ALOT, and she is one of those 'born mature' type..y boy, he just turned 2 and is gearing up for his trailing certification. Both are working on HRD, then area. His maturity level has come slowly.
I too believe deploying a 7mos old dog is scary and wrong... I'm less concerned in that it is for cadaver work as lives aren't really in danger, so to speak (possibly if used for clues on active murder case...) then if it were for area or trail work where lives were likely on the line... One source for certification?? Eeesh.. Not sure which 'team' this person is with but I am curious..