Search Dog Team

 

Lowland Rescue search dog teams are used to search areas that are difficult for human teams to search, such as dense woodland and difficult terrain, or to cover larger areas more quickly.  As with the foot teams, they will also look for vulnerable missing people, such as children, those suffering from mental illness and despondent people, who may wish to harm themselves.

Currently, we have a small team of five dogs.  All are trainee search dogs.

 

Meet our Dogs

 

 

 Merry

Merry is a 4 ½ year old German Shepherd, owned, trained and handled by Donna, who has had her since she was 9 weeks old.

By the time Merry was 1 year old, it was apparent that she needed a job, as she had so much energy.  Donna decided to join Warwickshire Search and Rescue with the intention of training her as a search dog.  However, at the time, the team did not have a dog team.  Another team member was also interested in training their dog, and so a dog team was formed in September 2014.

Merry is a trailing dog. She sniffs an article of clothing or other scent article, such as a car seat, and trails that particular person’s scent to their current location.

 

 

Sash

Sash is a 5 yr old German Shepherd who loves the outdoor life. She accompanies handler Nick on many expeditions.

Sash is learning to air scent for missing persons, meaning she searches for scent carried in air currents and seeks out the source of the scent. She will find any human scent in an area and it’s then down to the handler to decide if the person is the one we are looking for.

 

Harvey & Willow

 

Harvey is a Bouvier des Flandres – originally used for herding and protecting cattle in Belgium and France, the breed was also used as a messenger and ambulance dog during the First World War. Harvey is just over 1 yr old and is training to be an air scenting dog.

Willow is also just over 1 yr old. She is an Australian Cattle Dog and I think you’ll agree she is very pretty! Willow is very enthusiastic about trailing. Handler James has his work cut out with these two youngsters.

V

V is a German Shorthaired Pointer approaching 3 yrs and is a working gundog in her spare time. Handler and breeder Sue is training her to be a trailing dog.

 

All our search dogs are trainees, and not yet operational.

 

Training

Training a search dog requires huge commitment.  We train our dogs in group sessions, two or three times a week, all year round, whatever the weather, as long as it’s safe for the dogs.  These group training sessions are held at various locations in Warwickshire, so we give our dogs the widest experience possible.  The handlers will also train their dogs outside of these sessions, often with help from family members, friends and neighbours.  It can take around two years of training and assessments to become operational, and longer to progress to larger area searches.  All Lowland Rescue search dogs are trained to national standards set by Lowland Rescue, and, once they have passed their assessment and become operational, are reassessed every two years to ensure the standards are still being met.

 

Here’s a video from one of our training sessions in 2015.

 

Thank you to Carol-Anne Klatt for making this video for us.

 

Maybe you can help

We need volunteers to hide for the dogs (known as ‘mispering’), so they get realistic experience of searching for missing people.  If we use the same team members, family members and friends regularly in training to act as missing people for us, the dogs could get used to finding the same people, so it’s important for us to have lots of volunteers.  If you would like to come and help us at our training sessions, please e-mail our Search Dog Co-ordinator at searchdogs@warksar.org.uk.  You must like dogs, as sometimes they like to give you a kiss.  Also, please bear in mind that you could be waiting a while to be found, and you might get dirty!

 

Sponsorship

We would like to thank Burns Pet Nutrition Limited (https://burnspet.co.uk/) for their support with providing three of our Search Dogs with a donation of 6 months supply of dog food. Due to her allergies, Merry will be supplied with Sensitive Pork & Potato, whilst both V and Sash will have a mix of Active and Alert.

Burns Natural Food For Pets

 

Become a Search Dog Handler

If you have a pet dog you would like to train as a search dog, visit our Join Us page to read more about the Dog Handler role.  If you have any further questions, e-mail our Search Dog Co-ordinator at searchdogs@warksar.org.uk.