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.
Surprisingly, search-and-rescue-dogs are drawn even into wild terrain because of their play drive.
A SAR dog's job is to find the origin of a human scent and to indicate to its handler where that scent is.
According to experts, one SAR dog can accomplish the same as 20 to 30 human searchers (or 1:30).
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.
The dead skin cells are called rafts.
The most popular breed is a German shepherd. Other popular breeds for SAR work include Labrador and border collie.
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.
Moving water currents make it difficult for the dog to determine the exact location.
SAR dogs can become discouraged if they find only dead bodies, so firefighters hid in the rubble to "reward" the dogs with live people.
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.
They put all manner of distractions and obstacles along the way to test if the dog can keep to its mission successfully.
About 600 hours of training are required for field readiness.
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.
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.
The way the air currents move at night make better search conditions for a SAR dog than daytime searches.
The nature of their job is such that they work 24-7, 365 days a year with no vacations at all.
With a full-blown alert, it's all hands on deck. Everyone mobilizes to search that location, including digging through snow, moving rubble, etc.
The whole SAR task is a game to the dog. Playing with the dog indicates to it that the dog's won the game.
A SAR dog is retired from work usually between the ages of eight and 10.
Unfortunately, some SAR dogs suffered extreme stress and health problems after 9/11. For this reason, they retired early.