Why are Search and Rescue Dogs a Valuable Asset to the Community?

  • A dogs smell is 44 times better than humans.
  • One-eighth of a dogs brain is devoted to scent.
  • Dogs move much faster than Humans.
  • Dogs can go places people can not go.

 Types of Search and Rescue Dogs

Area Search Dogs


Area Search Dogs work off leash using air scenting techniques to find a live person in an area; they work quickly and cover a massive amount of area expeditiously.Because Area Search Dogs cover such a vast amount of land, they are trained with either a bark alert or a Recall/Refind Alert. Recall/Refind alert means that the dog will find the subject, return to the handler, alert the handler of the find, and then relocate the subject. K9 SAR Inc has access to many acres of training space available to support the Search Dog Team area search practices.

Cadaver and Human Remains Detection (HRD)

Cadaver and HRD Dogs work on or off leash in open wilderness areas, buildings, water, and in disaster debris to find a deceased person in the area. They will only alert on the smell of human remains by locating the deceased subject. A wide variety of alerts are used in cadaver/HRD detection. A bark alert is the most common, but passive alerts and recall/refind alerts can also be used. A bark alert means that the dog will bark upon locating the subject and continue barking until the handler arrives.

Scent Tracking and Trailing


Tracking/Trailing Dogs work on leash to follow footprints or a scent trail. A scent article is used to help the dog determine the person they are to find and the dog will only alert on the person that fits the scent article. Tracking/Trailing Dogs will use either a bark alert or a passive alert. A passive alert means that a dog will sit or lie down without a bark until the handler gets to the dog. Because a tracking/trailing dog works on leash a passive alert can be used.

Dog teams have a very special role in the world of search and rescue. A trained dog's extremely sensitive hearing, night vision, endurance and keen sense of smell have continually proven to be invaluable in the effort to locate missing persons. Because of their extraordinary abilities, dogs are often able to reduce the search time and thereby increasing the chances that the person will be found alive.

The success of search dog use stems from the fact that every human being has a different smell (not detectable by humans) which is caused by the constant stream of dead cells and bacteria shed from the human body. On command, a trained search dog will scan the air current for human scent while moving rapidly through an assigned area. When the dog identifies airborne human scent, it will quickly work to the source of the scent and on finding a human subject, return to the handler and give a trained behavioural indication. Using grid search techniques, a dog team working down wind of their assigned search area, can quickly clear large sections of the search area.

Search and Rescue dog teams are best called early in the search, but can be effective days or weeks afterwards. They can work in many situations and surroundings including dense brush and high grass, wooded areas, on the water, in snow avalanches, rock and mud slides and in and around collapsed structures and debris.

Air scenting dogs can work after other searchers have been through the area, in any type of weather, day or night, and after extended time lapse of days or weeks since they seek only the - airborne scent coming directly from the subject.

Other dogs are trained for tracking as well as air-scent work. Tracking skills add another dimension to the dogs search capabilities and can prove to be an important resource when appropriately deployed.

Testing and certification
All our K9s must complete a rigorous certification process that starts with a basic open field problem and ends with night search and multiple subject evaluations. As mandated by our affiliation requirements, there are six levels of evaluation that test the dog and handler's ability to detect and locate missing subjects under a variety of conditions.

Speciality Search Work.
While finding missing subjects in bush and rural settings is our primary mission, many of our k-9 teams are trained for other specialities. One of our teams are being trained in cadaver detection and crime scene preservation. 
Contact K9 SAR Inc. directly for more information on cadaver search capabilities.