What is Search and Rescue?
The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness search (areasearch), tracking, natural disasters (rubble search), in locating missing people in an avalanche or at drowning people in lakes and so on. Dedicated handlers and well-trained dogs are required for the use of dogs to be effective in search efforts.
Search And Rescue (SAR) can be trained for sports and for missions. Dogs are trained by using IPO-R guidelines. The International Rescuedogs Organisation in Austria provides judges that judge an exam for sport and/or for missions.
The IPO-R program has several exercises in searchwork (nosework) and obedience and dexterity. The dogs must show obedient, but also the must be agile and show a certain courage. In the obedience program by example the dogs must be able to walk over a ladder or over an unstable wooden bridge, exercises that are similar in the agility like a tunnel but the dogs must show control at all time. You can imagine an collapsed building where the rubble is moving the dog must be brave and be agile walking over the ruble. They must be in control every step they make as they are the ones that have to survive the rubble to locate the missing persons. In area search we don’t see moving rubble but there is wood all over the ground so the dogs can not break their legs and have to move agile trough the area. They must use their nose and the scent they get in the area.
The dogs must show independent work as they work off leash through the area. But they must be obedient at all time and never may hunt as they are searching missing persons.
For the WCH WSDF for Dutch Shepherds we offer the discipline area search which also contains the obedience and dexterity.