Teaching a dog search and rescue skills can be incredibly rewarding.  Even for owners who don’t plan on getting their dog into this field as a career should still at least consider helping their dog to learn these skills.  Search and rescue dog training techniques can certainly be more challenging to teach your dog than more basic skills.  The first step is to work on your dog’s personality and make sure they have all the basic characteristics that make a good search and rescue dog.

The ideal search and rescue dog is one that is even-tempered, able to stay calm even in stressful situations, obedient and adaptable.  They need to be even-tempered and learn how to stay calm even in the most stressful situations.  There are a few different search and rescue skills that a dog can learn.  They may either focus on a particular area of search and rescue or have several skills.

To become an air scent dog dogs must learn how to track people down just by sniffing the air.  Then there are trailing dogs which track on land, water dogs that work along the shore and in water, and also cadaver dogs which find the remains of human bodies in different locations.  Avalanche dogs are used in locations like British Columbia and Aspen where avalanches commonly occur and cover people.  As you’re holding the dog you want to give the dog a command such as “find” and then let them go.

The dog should immediately go after the object and bring it back to you.  This can be especially challenging when you’re using treats because at first most dogs are going to chow it down before you can stop them.  Another helpful search and rescue dog training technique is to take a sock or other undergarment and let the dog smell it.  This technique can certainly take a bit of time to work on but with practice the dog will learn to understand.

You can also make it a bit more challenging and bury the object under a pile of grass or snow and see how long it takes the dog to retrieve it.  See how long it takes them to find the object and if you’ve trained them properly you should see them sniff around and strategically head towards the right area.  These are just a few of the most basic search and rescue dog training techniques.  Whether you hire a trainer or take the task on yourself, search and rescue dog training is an incredible skill to teach to your dog.