The Publicity Hound
(The Most Dangerous Dog)
By: John William Grima  2009
Brookings County K9 Search and Rescue
Getting Started
Do you have what it takes to be a search dog handler?

Are you a team player?  Loyal, honest, trustworthy, ethical?
Do you have the right K9 partner?
Do you have time?  Both training on your own and team training?
Do you have a willingness to learn?
Do you have an understanding family?
Do you have reliable transportation?
Do you have physical stamina?
Do you have mental toughness? Not all searches end well.
Do you love being outdoors in all weather conditions?
Do you have the finances to afford gear, travel and training?
Can you pass a criminal background check?

Keep in mind that working a search and rescue dog requires commitment. Most of the
training required is for the handler. Training the handler to work with the dog effectively
usually takes 1.5 to 2 years, and continues for the entire operational life of the dog.

The reason you get into search and rescue is very important.  Giving the new family pet
something to do is not a good reason.  Having bragging rights to your friends and
community that you have a search dog is definitely NOT a good reason. Dedication to
the lost or missing person for whom you will search, “so that others may live” is a slogan
that many SAR K9 handlers live by.
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What kind of dog should I have?

Whether you are selecting a puppy or getting a young dog, make sure they are tested by
an experienced K9 handler for the correct drive and focus BEFORE you bring them
home with you.  Not all dogs make good search dogs.  Selecting a puppy just because he
is cute or you had a special feeling about him means you are not selecting especially for
search work.  

Some of the traits you are looking for in a great search dog include high intelligence,
physical stamina, learning easily, willingness to please, strong prey, hunt or toy drive and
an excellent nose for scenting. Search and rescue dogs also need focus (work ethic), as
they will spend long hours searching for a specific scent. They must get along well with
people and other canines. (See the links for puppy tests on the left.)

Some handlers can spend thousands on a pedigree puppy and some can find a treasure
at the local humane society.  Wherever you get them, be sure to have them tested first!

The most common breeds used for search work are Working Breeds such as German
Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Border Collie, Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever.  
Breed alone doesn't determine a good search dog, but they must posess the necessary
traits.
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Get Your Training Started....

Introduction to Hazardous Materials

Introduction to Incident Command  ICS-100

ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents  IS-200.B

National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction  IS-700.A:

Emergency Support Function (ESF) #9 – Search and Rescue  IS-809

National Response Framework, An Introduction   IS-800.B

NASAR SAR TECH II - Visit the NASAR website for information about NASAR SAR TECH II and testing
locations.  Click
here to visit the NASAR website.

Fundamentals of Search and Rescue - A good book to have in your permanent SAR library.  Available
through Amazon but cheaper if you buy from the NASAR website.  Click
here for NASAR store.

Bloodbourne Pathogens – Courses are available online.  Click
here for one site.

National Incident Management System  NIMS

Canine Search Specialist Training Course (DisasterDog.org)   A must read for all SAR K9 Handlers.
Links to More Information
K9 Eve as a puppy
Brookings County K9
Search and Rescue
Brookings, South Dakota
605-695-8444
K9 Shadow as a puppy
NASAR's Fundamentals
of Search and Rescue
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