Moderator who has gone to the dogs
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Where I don't wanna be-NW PA
Re: K-9 SAR Questions
Actually when the time comes, an "older", thoroughly tested rescue or breeder hold back dog might be a better option than a pup would be. That way before you adopt/buy you will have an older dog that CAN be thoroughly evaluated AND you can have hip, elbows, back/shoulder xrays to ensure the physical soundness of the dog. You can look for a 9 - 18 month old dog, perhaps a "washed out" police or military dog that has the drive for search but maybe washed out because of the protection aspects. Just make sure to have someone very knowledgable do the testing to ensure the dog will have everything needed for a working dog including health, drive and temperament. A 9-18 month old will give you a MUCH clearer picture than a 7-10 week old pup will.
You will want to spend as much possible time training with the team BEFORE you even have a dog. Most teams will allow you to join and be ground support or they need people at base to help out in other aspects. If you do join the team you can do all of your non-dog related certifications before you even have a dog. It will allow you a LOT of time to learn and give your full attention to whatever courses they require. It will give you time to get to know the team, learn about their dogs, learn about scent, learn about weather and how it affect scent, learn about the "lay of the land" and how THAT affects scent and learn about maps, compasses, packs, survival, first aid, cpr, shelter... I would also strongly recommend taking a K9 first aid and cpr class. Some teams require it but not all.
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Lakota, Chimo, Tika, Rayne, Kanuck, Jethro and Keyzah
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Kaylee Cheyenne 5/09