“Tracking German shepherd at 12 months old”
Tracking vs. Trailing
Traits of a Search and Rescue dogs SAR
The German Shepherd Dog is well suited to perform the tasks required of a good SAR dog. The typical SAR dog or search and rescue dogs are highly intelligent, making the dog perfect for obedience work. An SAR dog must have a strong play drive, which means they are very focused on chasing and recovering play toys. They are anxious to please their owner and have an intense ability to focus on task. Another characteristic required of an SAR dog is that the dog be non-aggressive, especially with other dogs and with strangers. Finally, the dog must show strong ability in at least one of these areas: tracking or trailing, air scenting, human remains detection and/or disaster recovery.
Each person gives off an individual scent that can be detected by a trained canine.
Tracking dogs are trained to specifically follow the path a missing person took by keeping their head to the ground to follow the scent left behind by the missing person. This type of SAR dog must remain focused on the specific path taken by the individual.
Trailing dogs are trained to follow the scent of the person but they do not keep their heads to the ground; they often deviate from the exact path the missing person took because they are also using air scenting techniques. Both of these dogs must be started from a location where the missing person was last seen and often are given a scent article to follow.
Air scenting dogs are able to follow the scent of a person by using air currents. They do not have to begin at the location where the person was last seen: Instead, they can work from the general area where the person is believed to be located and follow the scent back to the person’s location. Human beings shed thousands of skin cells each minute. Air scenting dogs can actually detect the skin cells that are carried on air currents in order to track back to where the missing person is located.
Deceased human beings give off an individual scent that can be tracked by an SAR dog. Cadaver dogs are also trained to detect the gases given off by a corpse. Some dogs can even detect the scent of human remains that are underwater.
Disaster recovery dogs are trained to handle the chaos of a natural or man-made disaster scene. They must work in perilous conditions and on a variety of terrain. Disaster recovery dogs are essential to locate people trapped under collapsed buildings or in debris. These dogs are not searching for a particular human being, but are following clues and scents to locate anyone trapped under the debris.