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The use of trained dogs in Emergency Services has existed for many years. Dogs have been used by the military and Police agencies throughout the world to assist them with locating people because of their keen olfactory abilities.
Dogs can be trained to assist us in locating both people and substances that have been hidden or lost. In spite of all the new technology that has been developed over the years, there are no man made devices that can duplicate the abilities of a well trained search dog.
The Manitoba Emergency Services College has developed a Canine Program to assist us with our Emergency Response Capabilities as well as assist other Agencies with the training of dogs for their programs.
For further details on our Canine Program refer to the articles and links below:
Selecting the right dog:
Selecting the right dog for the job is one of the most important decisions that have to be made before you become involved in any formal training program. So many people over the years have wrongly selected a specific dog for their training based on misconceptions on their part.
Hollywood often portrays certain breeds of dogs as being better at searching than they actually are. Many handlers often want to fit a specific dog such as a house pet into a role as a search dog as opposed to finding the perfect dog for the job that you want it to do. The perfect breed of dog for search and rescue is usually found among the working dog breeds. (ex: German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Labrador, Golden retriever, etc.) We are taking a dog breeds natural instincts and drives and then molding them for our purposes. The second most important characteristic that we look for is a high prey or play drive. We want a dog that is going to want to play fetch continuously and not quit. It is that high play or prey drive that is going to allow you to reach the highest potential of that dog as a searcher.
Training a dog for search and rescue or any other skill set is a big commitment. You must be prepared to spend many hours over several years to get your dog performing at optimal performance. It is important that you do not waste your valuable time along with anyone that is helping you train, by not choosing the right dog for the job from the start.
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