Search and rescue dog training is a challenging choice for training your dog. This is one type of training you will need to make the decision about early in your dog’s life. Usually, the dogs must start their training as young puppies.
When to start training your dog
When they are puppies it is not necessarily grueling training, but the knowledge and attention to the fact you are training a search and rescue dog. They need to start being exposed to a wide variety of environments, and conditions to prepare for their future work. When they are young puppies it is easy to become acclimated and comfortable in all kinds of surroundings which may not be as easy later in life.
How to get your dog ready for training
Part of your search and rescue dog training with a small puppy should be to train them curiosity and discovery. Play with the puppy by hiding items and encouraging the dog to find them. Give them plenty of praise and rewards for being successful. These skills are critical to being successful in their future missions. You want your dog to be excited but focused on the mission.
Bring your dog to a search and rescue training session
Scent training will start as a puppy and continue into their young dog lives. Learning to sample scents from the air and the ground in their search for victims or targets is a critical skill. Not all dogs are successful in this type of training, which will normally take the assistance of professional dog trainers. If you are wanting your puppy trained for search and rescue, make sure to contact a trainer immediately. Check references on trainers before making your final choice. You may even want to visit a training session and see them in action. Both you and your dog must be comfortable and prepared to follow the lead of the trainer.
Prepare your dog for real-world scenarios
Your dog’s personality and human interaction traits are highly important, also. Consider the situations your dog will face in the real world of search and rescue. While you may be calm in handling the dog, they will be surrounded by excited, upset, angry, and agitated people. They will need to be able to deal with people in the midst of emotional trauma and remain calm and friendly. Make sure you allow your dog plenty of interaction with other people in many different situations to help them develop a relaxed attitude around strangers and noise.
Search and rescue dog training is not something to be undertaken lightly or on just a whim. It is a lifelong training process and commitment to you and your pet. You will want to keep your dog in practice long after the professional training phases are finished. You may go months or years without any real-life situations for your dog to work, but they must stay prepared for when emergency calls. If you choose to train your dog in search and rescue techniques, your reward could easily be the gratitude of a family, community, or even your country, just be prepared for the challenges ahead.