Dogs are being used in Search and Rescue (SAR) for example in natural disasters, wilderness tracking, search for missing persons and in the events of mass casualties. These situations require well-trained dogs and dedicated handlers. Most handlers typical search the area in small teams and the search is made on foot. Some handlers work from horseback.
SAR Dogs can be classified according to their physical, mental and smelling capabilities. There are basically two types of Rescue dogs, trailing dogs and air scenting dogs. Different dogs perform differently in a given situation. Air scenting dogs get alerted when the scent of a person is given to them. Non- Scent differentiating dogs will follow any given type of scents such as cadaver or human scent. SAR dogs can be used for water searches, rubble searches and for avalanche searches.
Airscenting – Search Dogs
Air Scenting dogs look for airborne human’s Scent, instead of looking for the scent on the ground (track of Scent left by a person passing). As the scent in the air is passed to long distances with the help of wind Air scenting dogs provide an efficient tool for searching big areas. The effectiveness of air scenting dogs greatly reduced in populous areas, because there will be different types of human scents at the same place, but this ability also make them ideal for the wilderness search areas.
Tracking – Search Dogs
Tracking search dogs will normally perform on some kind of lead and will have the nose to the ground for following tracks. A well-trained tracking search dog is able to track every single movement of the target, even if he turns back and then come to the spot again.
Trailing – Search Dogs
Trailing search dogs are trained to follow a specific scent that’s unique to a person that is lost or missing. The trailing dog is trained to follow only that scent. The training takes place in a far distance area that’s free from all kinds of human scent contaminations. Then it gets a little harder and dogs are trained in some populated areas. The dog is trained to smell even the weakest trail of scent.