Rescue dog training teaches canines how to perform specific tasks that can save lives and help people. This job is not suitable for every dog but it is still a very rewarding and worthwhile pursuit.
Handlers and dogs must train for about two years before they can actively
participate as part of an official rescue team. Some dogs excel at this
kind of work and may progress a bit faster but it is generally a good idea
not to try and rush this kind of learning activity.
At the very beginning of rescue dog training each canine
is tested and judged. Those that show a strong affinity for this kind of
work are approved for the next stage of training. A rescue dog must be
obedient and able to get along with a variety of animals and people.
dogs must be able to work for long hours in difficult environments while
maintaining their composure and focus. Trainers look for dogs that are
agile, calm and have a strong prey or
drive when they are considering potential candidates for rescue dog training.
All rescue dog training involves a great deal of physical
activity and outdoor work. Dogs must be in good physical condition. They
must prove that they can climb, jump and run for long periods of time.
Improvised hurdles and challenges are frequently presented to the dogs, and
in order to complete rescue dog training the canine must
be able to adjust to these challenges and overcome them. If your dog excels
at agility training you may want to consider whether to have evaluated as a
potential rescue dog candidate.
Learning how to pick up a scent and follow it is one of the most important
aspects of rescue dog training. These animals are trained
to stay on the trail of a scent even if it is camouflaged with other
smells. Sometimes the dog must follow the scent through ponds, streams or
other bodies of water.
The dogs will be taught how to stay focused on one scent and avoid all
distractions. They will also be instructed in the proper way to alert their
handler to a scent that they have found.
Many of the commands used in rescue dog training exercises will be non verbal so it is
very important that you understand how to work with a canine teammate using
this silent form of communication.
With rescue dog training there is always a lot of work for
both dog and handler to do. In order to have a good rescue dog both handler
and canine must learn to work as a cohesive and efficient team.
and training drills must be practiced continually to reinforce the lessons
that have been taught.
There are some breeds of dogs that are better suited for search and r escue dog training. Usually smaller dogs are not ideal
candidates for this type of work because rescue dogs must be able to adapt
to any kind of environment including rough outdoor conditions.
A rescue dog may be called upon to negotiate tall steps, ladders or may
even be asked to walk across a steep roof. These animals may be required to
work in cold, rainy or windy outdoor weather.
Many rescue dogs are sent out
into densely wooded or swampy areas and larger boned dogs are better suited
for these kinds of environments.
German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Boder Collies, Malinois, Labrador
and Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Bloodhounds, Boxers and Dobermans are
some of the breeds that make good candidates for rescue dog training.
Many mixed breeds can also be used as
rescue dogs, especially those that have bloodlines containing the DNA of
retrievers, hounds or German shepherds. As a rule a dog that has strong
traits for sporting, herding or working are always among the top contenders
to become a rescue dog.
Air scent dogs, trailing (or tracking) dogs, water search dogs, cadaver
detection dogs and avalanche recovery dogs are just a few of the jobs
available for canines that have successfully completed r escue dog training courses. Most dogs will specialize in
just one area but there are a few dogs that have proven they have
outstanding abilities in more than one rescue field.
You should never try to compel your dog to concentrate on search and rescue
training exercises if the animal shows no interest. This will only become
an exercise in frustration for both handler and canine. Pursue rescue
training for dogs with an animal that shows an interest in this type of
If you want to keep your dog focused and excited about rescue training you
need to be sure and offer rewards for a job well done. Prey driven dogs
will appreciate additional play and recreation time while
driven dogs will want to be rewarded with treats.
Making sure that your dog is well schooled in basic obedience training is
necessary before you even begin to think about rescue dog training.
You can train your dog at home but it
is generally a better bet to seek some type of professional training help
if you plan to progress your dog into rescue work at a future date and
This will help ensure that your dog is well grounded and responds
appropriately to commands regardless of the situation.
Socializing a dog will help them overcome some of their feelings of anxiety
and insecurity. A dog that is well socialized to people, children, new
environments and other animals is the kind of animal that has a better
chance of successfully completing any type of advanced training courses.
In order to maximize the full effect of rescue dog training the handler must remember that he is
maintain his position as alpha leader
when exercising and training drills are being done.
The use of the eyes and
body posture is often the most effective training tools a handler has to
work with. Using these non verbal signals appropriately will help you
control and teach your dog.
Rescue dog training
will give any dog and owner a sense of pride and accomplishment. While this
type of work is not going to be the ideal choice for some canines it is a
wonderful opportunity for many other dogs. If you have a dog that you feel
is a good candidate for rescue work there are programs that will help you
uncover and develop these hidden talents.