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Search and Rescue dogs are a valuable asset in the wilderness, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. Dedicated handlers and well-trained dogs are required for them to be effective in search efforts. Search and Rescue dogs are typically worked, by a small team on foot.
Search and Rescue dogs detect human scent. Although the exact processes are still being researched, the scent may include skin rafts (scent-carrying skin cells that drop off living humans at a rate of about 40,000 cells per minute), evaporated perspiration, respiratory gases, or decomposition gases released by bacterial action on human skin or tissues.
SULSAR uses two types of dogs Trailing and Area dogs. Both train to the National Search and Rescue dog Association standards. All the dogs are family pets trained to the high standards of the National Search and Rescue Dog Association. The dog team is not separate to the main team but they train more often separately to the main team, as well as the standard team training. To train a dog takes time and commitment. You need to been in the team for a period of time before you can become part of the dog section.
The two types of dogs SULSAR currently uses or are in training are:
Air Scenting Search Dogs search routes, paths and areas looking for human scent particles. They do not discriminate scent e.g. they do not look for specific people but will look for anyone that is in the area. Once the dog finds a missing person they will return to their handler and ‘indicate‘ with a bark or by jumping up at them. Then the dog will take their handler back to the missing person with a ‘show me‘ command. On finding the missing person the handler ‘rewards‘ the dog with their favourite toy and/or food whilst heaping lots of praise on them.
Scent Specific Trailing Search Dogs follow a scent trail looking for / following human scent particles. These search dogs do discriminate scent e.g. they are given an article of the missing persons clothing and will then hunt for a trail that matches that scent. Once the dog finds the scent they will ‘indicate‘ the trail to the handler and then they will follow the trail to the missing person. On finding the missing person the dog will ‘indicate‘ the find to the handler who then ‘rewards‘ the dog with their favourite toy and/or food whilst heaping lots of praise on them.
Everything is a ‘game’ to our furry helpers, through years of training it drives the dog to find missing people.
Stay up to date with the dogs in training by following the Sulsar Dog Team’s Facebook click here National-Search-and-Rescue-Dog-Association-Nsarda-Suffolk-113179446825790