The Ultimate Search-and-Rescue Dog Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

What makes a search-and-rescue dog go through wild terrain to search out a missing person?

Surprisingly, search-and-rescue-dogs are drawn even into wild terrain because of their play drive.

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There are two parts to the job of a search-and-rescue (SAR) dog. What are they?

A SAR dog's job is to find the origin of a human scent and to indicate to its handler where that scent is.

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If a SAR dog's search value were to be weighed against that of a human searcher, what would the ratio be?

According to experts, one SAR dog can accomplish the same as 20 to 30 human searchers (or 1:30).

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When a SAR dog sniffs out a human scent, what is it looking for?

Any human scent is possible. This could be in the form of a live person, a dead body, a human tooth or an article of clothing.

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Humans constantly shed dead skin cells and this is the scent that SAR dogs pick up. What are these cells called?

The dead skin cells are called rafts.

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Which of these breeds is a popular choice as a SAR dog?

The most popular breed is a German shepherd. Other popular breeds for SAR work include Labrador and border collie.

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A tracking dog follows the trail of one human scent. What is the most crucial issue for a tracking dog?

The most crucial issue is time. If, say, a child goes missing, the tracking dog goes with its nose to the ground in search of the child's trail, but it must do so before someone contaminates the trail.

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Although SAR dogs can pick up the scent of a human body that is completely immersed in water, they can't pinpoint its exact location. Why?

Moving water currents make it difficult for the dog to determine the exact location.

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Why did firefighters and handlers hide in the rubble at Ground Zero in 2001?

SAR dogs can become discouraged if they find only dead bodies, so firefighters hid in the rubble to "reward" the dogs with live people.

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The K-9 Search-and-Rescue Team defines three skill levels. The first is basic obedience. What are the other two?

The other two skills levels are canine professionalism and physical, as well as mental, ability. To work with K-9, a SAR dog has to pass all three levels.

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When a tracking dog is tested, what does K-9 do to make it hard for the dog?

They put all manner of distractions and obstacles along the way to test if the dog can keep to its mission successfully.

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How many hours with the handler are usually required for SAR training?

About 600 hours of training are required for field readiness.

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In SAR work, what is meant by "victim loyalty"?

It means remaining with the victim or injured person, while barking to the handler to indicate its whereabouts. This is in contrast to other SAR work, whereby the dog leaves the located person and runs back for help.

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What attribute must a SAR dog have in order to perform tasks that are not necessarily instinctive?

It must have confidence. Stamina and resolve might be helpful, too, but just in order to see the "game" through to the end. Of greater priority is its confidence.

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Why are searching conditions better for a SAR dog at night?

The way the air currents move at night make better search conditions for a SAR dog than daytime searches.

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How often do SAR dogs get vacation?

The nature of their job is such that they work 24-7, 365 days a year with no vacations at all.

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During a search, if a SAR dog gives a full-blown alert at a particular location, what happens?

With a full-blown alert, it's all hands on deck. Everyone mobilizes to search that location, including digging through snow, moving rubble, etc.

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Why does the handler play with the dog even after the missing person is found dead?

The whole SAR task is a game to the dog. Playing with the dog indicates to it that the dog's won the game.

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When do SAR dogs retire?

A SAR dog is retired from work usually between the ages of eight and 10.

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Why did some SAR dogs retire early after 9/11?

Unfortunately, some SAR dogs suffered extreme stress and health problems after 9/11. For this reason, they retired early.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Search-and-Rescue dogs carry out important, life-saving missions on a day-to-day basis. Learn about their training and what motivates them to do this often dangerous work by taking this quiz.

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