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An Introduction to Canine SAR Teams. Developed as part of the National Emergency Services Curriculum Project. Three Categories. Tracking Trailing Air-scenting. Tracking Dogs. Trained to follow a specific scent An article is held under the dog’s nose until he gets the scent

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An introduction to canine sar teams l.jpg

An Introduction to Canine SAR Teams

Developed as part of the National Emergency Services Curriculum Project


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Three Categories

  • Tracking

  • Trailing

  • Air-scenting


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Tracking Dogs

  • Trained to follow a specific scent

    • An article is held under the dog’s nose until he gets the scent

      • Don’t contaminate the article

    • Can be confused

      • Additional scents masking the target scent

      • Broken track

    • Use early to avoid searching after the scent has faded or other searchers have been in the area



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Trailing Dogs

  • Similar to tracking dogs, but picks up scent in air in addition to the original track

  • Follows the trail of dead skin cells left when a person brushes up against objects or simply fall off the body naturally



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Air-scenting Dogs

  • These dogs are deployed downwind of the search area and are trained to detect human scents traveling on the wind

  • Can work in a tracking or trailing mode

  • Usually the preferred canine resource



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Wilderness

Collapsed Structure

Underwater

Cadaver

Drug

Weapons Searches

Evidence

Air-Scenting DogsTypically Specialized


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Why do search managers use Canine SAR Teams?

  • Greater Probability of Detection (POD)

    • 50 to 80% POD on first search

  • Less manpower intensive

  • Often readily available through local law enforcement early in the search


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Five rules for working with Dog Teams

  • Coordinate your team’s actions with the dog handler

  • Clear the upwind search area of any personnel and stay downwind of the dog and handler at all times

  • Keep a good distance behind the dog and handler and allow them to work unimpeded


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Five rules for working with Dog Teams

  • When in doubt, follow handler’s instructions

  • Unless specifically requested keep all resources away from dog teams in the field

    • Vehicle exhaust deadens the scent and sense of smell of the dog

    • Not all SAR dogs can be considered friendly or pets

    • Don’t feed them - handlers often have special diets for their dogs, and you could harm them


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Cover large area quickly with a high POD

Not manpower intensive

Requires little support

Limited availability of K-9s in some areas

Not always the best resource late in a search

Pros & Cons


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Canine SAR Tasks

  • Ground Team Members

    • O-0401: Work with Canine Search Teams


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