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CASTING CALL - COMPETITION DOGS
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 Search and Rescue

People often say they want to teach their dog to find lost kids and things. They notice that their dog loves to use its nose, and naturally think this would be a good thing to do. It is a great thought but often not practicable. Search and rescue is very rewarding, but it requires serious commitment on your part. You should count on training at least fifteen hours a week. Training includes being a "victim" as well as learning how to find one. That might mean spending hours hiding in some tick infested brush in the dark and wet. Training includes learning all the skills you will need to actually head out and find someone, map reading, compass skills, first responder aid (very, very advanced "first aid"), radio skills and much more. You go out in all kinds of weather and conditions.

If this still sounds good to you then be prepared to prove your commitment. You will have to be persistent in order to locate someone willing to sponsor you. This system can be frustrating, but it does tend to eliminate people who have idealistic notions without the driving commitment necessary to bring a dog up to "mission ready" status. It is normal to take about two years to fully train a dog. And you will be paying for all your own equipment. Over a two year period it is easily possible for this to get into the thousands of dollars (depends upon how much camping/outdoor/dog gear you've already got).

OK so what do you do with the dog that has a "happy nose" but you can't commit the time and money or energy for search and rescue? Get involved in the sport of tracking. It is fun, great for the nosey dog, and can be done in the time available to most of us normal people. Actually any dog can learn to track. It is a fascinating process.

Fundraiser for California Rescue Dog Association May 14, 2011

Absaroka Search Dogs
http://www.absarokasearchdogs.org/faq.html

Some good basic information for considering SAR as your new passion. Good articles pointing out the rewards and the commitments for success in SAR.

FAQ - SAR Dogs
http://www.scemk9.com/frequently_asked_questions.htm

A list of frequently asked questions about SAR and instructions on joining a SAR discussion group. The list is populated by some very experienced handlers with a wide variety of opinions. When you are ready to jump in expect to be able to support your opinions with examples related to actual SAR work in the field. Honest questions asked with an open mind are just fine

Avalanche Dogs - And More!
http://www.comdens.com/SAR/default.htm

A list of frequently asked questions about SAR and instructions on joining a SAR discussion group. The list is populated by some very experienced handlers with a wide variety of opinions. When you are ready to jump in expect to be able to support your opinions with examples related to actual SAR work in the field. Honest questions asked with an open mind are just fine

Introduction to Avalanche Search Dogs
http://www.1srg.org/Contributed-Materials/SAR%20Dog%20Avalanche%20promo.htm

Some general SAR training beyond what's specifically concerned with avalanche dogs. Outlines what to look for in a potential SAR dog or puppy. Links to various other sites as well as SAR articles.

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation Home Page
http://www.ndsdf.org/

This site focuses on a small subset of SAR, Disaster Searching. Not my favorite organizational style because it takes some exploring to get general information, instead of organizational information. Of course, the purpose of the page is to encourage support for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. Still if you are interested in the slightest in SAR it is worth a visit.

California Search and Rescue Dog Association
http://www.carda.org/

A good site to explore if you are really interested in SAR. Provides some general overview, distinguishes different search situations, and offers links to other sites.

National Association for Search and Rescue
http://www.nasar.org/nasar/

A very comprehensive site covering all aspects of search and rescue.

National Search and Rescue Dog Association This site is a UK resource
http://www.nsarda.org.uk/

An umbrella organisation for Air Scenting Search Dogs in the UK.

Search and Rescue Links
http://www.sarinfo.bc.ca/

Offers a wide variety of links to Search and Rescue sites, and related sites. From the home page find SAR News, SAR Briefings, SAR File Libraries, Tech Tips, and more. Good way to find contacts to a SAR organization near you.

Sarcontacts.org
http://sarcontacts.org/

Looking for a group near you? The fact a group is listed is not an endorsement but a tool to help you get started.

The Back Dog
http://www.bloodhounds.com/bhb/sarlinks.html

Some SAR information from the bloodhound perspective.

Bay Area Search And Rescue Council
http://www.basarc.org/

The broader perspective of Search and Rescue - not limited to the involvement of dogs.

Maine Search and Rescue Dogs
http://www.mesard.org/

The detailed section on Standards can be very helpful in getting a realistic idea of the commitment involved.

Pathfinder Search and Rescue
http://www.pathfindersar.org/

 Pathfinder Search and Rescue is a volunteer Canine SAR team in Moore, Oklahoma. Includes a description of their training program.

Pet Hunters Home Page
http://www.pethunters.com/

An interesting slant to search and rescue with some good information on training. This site discusses searching for lost pets.

Training The Disaster Search Dog
 
For more resources see Search and Rescue books and videos available from Dogwise.
 



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