Quote:Interested in volunteering as a Search and Rescue team member?
o Am I willing to spend one or two years training twice a week before my dog and I are ready to participate in a search?
o Am I willing to continue training twice a week (several hours to a full day each time) indefinitely?
o Can I drive long distances once a week for group training?
o Am I physically and mentally prepared to spend long hours out in the worst weather, often at night, searching through difficult terrain perhaps carrying victims out several miles on a stretcher?
o Is my job flexible enough to allow me to leave for a search occasionally?
o Can I afford several thousand dollars for search equipment, gas, training courses, etc?
o Will I get up at 3:00 am for a search?
o Am I mentally prepared to discover a deceased victim? Am I prepared to reward my dog happily when he/she leads me to a deceased person?
o Will I accept the judgment of a training officer concerning my own abilities and my dog's and take direction concerning my training methods?
o Can I gracefully take orders from team leaders, search dog officers, and search managers, even when my opinions differ from theirs?
o Am I prepared to take responsibility for my own progress, and show initiative in developing my own skills?
Is my dog cut out for search work?
o Is he/she of an appropriate breed and age?
o Does he/she have a rock solid temperament: outgoing, calm, confident and non-aggressive (What about children? Other animals?)
o Is he/she in excellent health?
o Is he/she closely bonded to me (does he/she prefer my company to any other activity)?
o Is he/she a well-mannered, obedient dog?
o Am I willing to expose him/her to a certain level of shared risk?
o Am I willing to acquire a new puppy specifically for search work and train for several years?
o Am I the kind of dog trainer who is willing to give up control and trust my dog when he/she tells me something that I think is incorrect?
o Sometimes an older dog takes to searching, but the training is much more difficult and time-consuming. The working life of the dog is much shorter, of course. The best results are usually obtained when a pup is selected using puppy testing with searching in mind, and trained from the time he/she is seven or eight weeks old. Remember, the individual dog must have the determination and drive to search coupled with a completely stable and gentle temperament with both people and animals. This can be a rare combination and you must be realistic about your own dog. Some of the most successful dog handlers began training in canine search work before they have a dog