“How do you train Search Dogs?”

K9 Ruger displays his “trained indication” by sitting in front of Robert after making a find. This is how the dog says “found ’em!”

When I do author appearances the most frequent question I get is also the most obvious: “How do you train search dogs?”

The honest answer is that the dog is by far the easier half of the team to train. It’s usually the human that’s the problem.

Of course there are always going to be dogs that simply don’t enjoy “the game” of search and rescue. They’re content to hang around the house and be a pet, or do obedience, or agility. No amount of training will make a dog that doesn’t want to play the game into a successful search dog.

But assuming you have a suitable dog that enjoys using its nose, you only have to teach the dog two things.

  • What odor you want it to find, and
  • How to tell you they’ve found it.

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