While all of the dogs used in our unit are “part of their families,” our dogs are also working dogs and must be in top physical condition to withstand the physical demand involved in training to search. Dogs search for several hours at a time in a variety of terrain and temperatures. They must be up on all shots at all times and trips to the vet are not uncommon. Injuries can occur and can be minor or significant.
While most dogs can search, not all dogs are candidates for SAR work. We will evaluate each new dog and give feed back designed to assist in the decision whether to begin on the road to training a particular dog for our team. Contrary to some beliefs, young dogs with “no focus” or dogs with “too much energy” are likely good candidates for SAR because these dogs frequently thrive when given something fun to do and a consistent opportunity to complete fun tasks and get rewarded for their behavior. Even if your current dog does not end up being a good SAR prospect, you can still be a valued member of our team as a Technical Support member and if desired, get another dog more suited to the work. Any one interested in becoming a member must attend four (4) trainings without a dog and have their dog evaluated before starting to train a dog. This way, all prospective members can focus on how the team works and trains and learn the “ins-and-outs” of our training before turning their focus to their dogs. It is important that each handler learn and understand how training works and how the team trains before placing their dog in that environment. Thus, we take the time to work with prospective members before expecting them to join in our training group with a dog.