The Importance of Search and Rescue Dogs

Providing an extremely valuable service, search and rescue dogs are the unsung heroes of law enforcement, rescue organizations, and first responders around the country. However, they are not always given the spotlight for their heroic deeds. In this month’s blog, we will give a quick history of search and rescue dogs, the different types, and what kinds of services they bravely perform with their handlers.

The History of Search and Rescue Dogs

According to the National Search and Rescue Dog Association, search dogs as we know them today were first used during World War I. These dogs were trained by the Red Cross to find injured soldiers on the battlefield. In 1937, a rescue dog in the Swiss Alps helped locate an Avalanche victim after the rescue team could not. This led the Swiss Army to have several German Shepherds trained to specifically smell out humans. 

The first search dogs in the United States were bloodhounds, whose keen sense of smell was used to track down criminals. Today, however, many different breeds are used as long as they can complete the training process. Some of these breeds are:

  • Belgian Malinois,
  • Border Collie,
  • Pit Bull Terrier, and
  • Labradors.

Nowadays, most are used to locate missing persons or victims trapped after a natural disaster or catastrophe. 

What They Do and How They Do It

Search and Rescue Dog training is built upon trust between them and their handler. The two form a close-knit bond that allows them to trust and rely on each other. The training itself is simple yet difficult to master. It starts by teaching the dog to bark on command, then they are taught to associate barking with finding something. Their training then moves on to finding specific items by scent and being able to mark them or bring their handler to the exact spot.

After training, the dogs are required to undergo a standardized testing process to ensure their effectiveness. While many do not pass the testing process, only the highest scoring dogs and handlers are assigned to become search and rescue. 

If you train or handle search and rescue dogs, you know they need a ton of energy to be able to do what they do. At Hi-Standard Dog Food, we use protein as our first ingredient and pack our food with the vitamins and minerals they need to perform at their best. With glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, Vitamin E and Zinc for immune support, and Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin; hold your dog food to The Golden Standard with Hi-Standard Dog Food. To find a dealer near you, click here or give us a call at (866) 357-3335.

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