Rescue dog training teaches canines how to perform specific tasks that can save lives and help people. This job is not suitable for every dog, but it is still a very rewarding and worthwhile pursuit. If you think that you may have a dog that could benefit from rescue dog training you may find that you are getting as much benefit from this challenge as your four-footed buddies.
Handlers and dogs must train for about two years before they can actively participate as part of an official rescue team. Some dogs excel at this kind of work and may progress a bit faster, but it is a good idea not to try and rush this kind of learning activity.
At the very beginning of rescue dog training, each canine is tested and judged. Those that show a strong affinity for this kind of work are approved for the next stage of training.
A rescue dog must be obedient and able to get along with a variety of animals and people. The dogs must be able to work long hours in difficult environments while maintaining their composure and focus.
Trainers look for dogs that are agile, calm and have a strong prey or food drive when they are considering potential candidates for rescue dog training.
All rescue dog training involves a great deal of physical activity and outdoor work. Dogs must be in good physical condition. They must prove that they can climb, jump and run for long periods of time. Improvised hurdles and challenges are frequently presented to the dogs, and to complete rescue dog training the canine must be able to adjust to these challenges and overcome them.
If your dog excels at agility training, you may want to consider whether to have evaluated as a potential rescue dog candidate.
Learning how to pick up a scent and follow it is one of the most important aspects of rescue dog training. These animals are trained to stay on the trail of a scent even if it is camouflaged with other smells. Sometimes the dog must follow the scent through ponds, streams or other bodies of water.
The dogs will be taught how to stay focused on one scent and avoid all distractions. They will also be instructed properly to alert their handler to a scent that they have found. Many of the commands used in rescue dog training exercises will be nonverbal, so it is very important that you understand how to work with a canine teammate using this silent form of communication.
With rescue dog training there is always a lot of work for both dog and handler to do. To have a good rescue dog, both handler and canine must learn to work as a cohesive and efficient team. Commands and training drills must be practiced continually to reinforce the lessons that have been taught.
There are some breeds of dogs that are better suited for search and rescue dog training. Usually smaller dogs are not ideal candidates for this type of work because rescue dogs must be able to adapt to any kind of environment including rough outdoor conditions.
A rescue dog may be called upon to negotiate tall steps, ladders or may even be asked to walk across a steep roof. These animals may be required to work in cold, rainy or windy outdoor weather. Many rescue dogs are sent out into densely wooded or swampy areas, and larger boned dogs are better suited for these kinds of environments.
German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Malinois, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Bloodhounds, Boxers, and Dobermans are some of the breeds that make good candidates for rescue dog training. Many mixed breeds can also be used as rescue dogs, especially those that have bloodlines containing the DNA of retrievers, hounds or German shepherds. As a rule, a dog that has strong traits for sporting, herding or working are always among the top contenders to become a rescue dog.
Air scent dogs, trailing (or tracking) dogs, water search dogs, cadaver detection dogs and avalanche recovery dogs are just a few of the jobs available for canines that have completed rescue dog training courses. Most dogs will specialize in just one area, but there are a few dogs that have proven they have outstanding abilities in more than one rescue field.
You should never try to compel your dog to concentrate on search and rescue training exercises if the animal shows no interest. This will only become an exercise in frustration for both handler and canine. Pursue rescue training for dogs with an animal that shows an interest in this type of activity.
If you want to keep your dog focused and excited about rescue training you need to be sure and offer rewards for a job well done. Prey driven dogs will appreciate additional play and recreation time while food driven dogs will want to be rewarded with treats.
Making sure that your dog is well schooled in basic obedience training is necessary before you even begin to think about rescue dog training. You can train your dog at home, but it is a better bet to seek some professional training help if you plan to progress your dog into rescue work at a future date and time. This will help ensure that your dog is well grounded and responds appropriately to commands regardless of the situation.
Socializing a dog will help them overcome some of their feelings of anxiety and insecurity. A dog that is well socialized to people, children, new environments and other animals is the kind of animal that has a better chance of completing any advanced training courses.
To maximize the full effect of rescue dog training, the handler must remember that he is to maintain his position as alpha leader when exercising and training drills are being done. The use of the eyes and body posture is often the most effective training tools a handler has to work with. Using these nonverbal signals appropriately will help you control and teach your dog.
Rescue dog training will give any dog and owner a sense of pride and accomplishment. While this type of work is not going to be the ideal choice for some canines, it is a wonderful opportunity for many other dogs. If you have a dog that you feel is a good candidate for rescue work some programs will help you uncover and develop these hidden talents.