Search and Rescue Dogs: Training Methods

American Rescue Dog Association, Author Howell Books $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-87605-733-9
It's unlikely that many dog owners will have the dedication, resources and stamina to enter search-and-rescue work. On the other hand, the techniques and the case studies here are so interesting that a read will prove rewarding to ordinary trainers and fanciers alike. Discussion begins with a brief history of the American Rescue Dog Association (ARDA), founded in 1972, which provides its services nationally, free of charge--``Can you leave work for two or three days at a time, perhaps several times a month? Can you afford to pay all your own expenses?'' The ARDA's methods, based on dogs' sensitivity to airborne scents (as opposed to traditional tracking) and training methods, are examined in detail, and guidelines are suggested for forming search-and-rescue units. Standards are high for both handlers and animals. Dogs should be double-coated; agile; highly intelligent and trainable; demonstrate scenting ability; be deeply bonded with a handler; and lacking an instinct for hunting--a German shepherd is ideal. Handlers must be strong, stoic, quick-witted and knowledgeable in areas ranging from first aid to lost-person behavior. Dog-world devotees will find this as gripping as any thriller. Photographs not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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