Basic Training Scope
Qualities of a Search and Rescue Dog Candidate
A prospective search and rescue dog candidate should:
Strive for active human contact and be enthusiastically open to meeting new people, playing with them, and allowing physical contact without hesitation.
Be accustomed to different environments, unafraid of unstable or slippery surfaces, and able to navigate urban settings alongside noisy machinery, cars, and other civilization-related sounds without being emotionally affected.
Remain indifferent to gunshots.
Show no aggression towards unfamiliar dogs and should not fear them.
Maintain a strong bond with their handler.
Written by: Joanna Hewelt
Qualification Test Range for OSP Gdańsk
The tests consist of several stages, where the following aspects are assessed:
Establishing contact with humans.
Interest in a stranger.
Walking on stairs.
Walking on unstable surfaces.
Reaction to fire.
Reaction to a noise source.
Reaction to a dark tunnel.
Reaction to other dogs.
Response to gunshots.
Standing for inspection.
Walking at the handler’s side without a leash.
Staying in place.
Recalling to the handler.
Sending forward and returning to the handler.
Barking on command.
Retrieving an object owned by the handler and an object owned by a stranger.
Correct reactions to gunshots and loud noises.
Overcoming obstacles with an object retrieval.
Scent Work and Area Search
Searching for the handler.
Searching for a stranger.
Finding items with unfamiliar scents.
Tracking on an unfamiliar trail (laid half an hour earlier, with a length of 500m, 3-4 bends, and containing 3 objects).
Snow Avalanche Work
Avalanche dimensions: 100 X 80m.
Three people hidden at depths of 1-3m.
Three personal items hidden at depths of 30-50 cm.
The dog searches for 30 minutes.
Initiating a search in an avalanche.
Detecting items at depths of 30 cm, 40 cm, and 50 cm.
Detecting people at depths of 1 m, 2 m, and 3 m.
Experiences and Opinions of Handlers
Report from Search and Rescue Dog Tests – January 2004
Two Golden Retrievers participated in the tests: Oskar and Todi. Lalka, at only 8 months old, will have to wait a bit longer Here is a report from one of the participants:
The test consisted of several trials.
First, the dog’s reactions to the presence of a large group of people were assessed.
Then came a playful moment with the dog, during which their behavior towards strangers, ability to play with them, and the willingness to leave their handler for a while were evaluated. Apparently, one drawback is the dog’s excessive attachment to the handler.
Next was the most amusing part of the test, in my opinion – from behind a large box located several tens of meters away from us, a strange figure emerged
The individual was dressed in a cloak, had a hood on their head, moved in a strange manner, and looked like a cross between Baby Yaga and the hunchback from Notre Dame
Honestly, I was worried whether Oskar would run away upon seeing this creature. It turned out I was worrying for nothing. After a few odd movements and jumps, the creature hid behind the box, and my dog ran to him and started playing with him.
The last part of the test involved assessing reactions to gunshots. I was supposed to engage the dog with a toy, and while playing with it, several shots were fired. At the first shot, Oskar glanced at me as if checking if I was scared, but he practically ignored the subsequent shots.
The entire test was recorded on video. After reviewing the footage and consulting with experts, a decision will be made regarding the acceptance or rejection of the dog and handler into the group. I’ll be eagerly awaiting Wednesday because even though several people assured me that everything went exceptionally well, I’m still a bit nervous