Obedience and Directions


Disaster Search Dogs need to have a high degree of functional obedience. While searching rubble or slash piles, debris, wide areas or buildings the dog handler needs to be in full control of their canine. A strong recall and a quick emergency stop are critical in keeping the dogs safe.

Although some of our members enjoy competition obedience and even have titles on their dogs, in general we’re looking for a more functional type of obedience. While deployed to a mission or even just at training our dogs need show a huge amount of control and responsiveness to their handler. Dogs need to have a solid out of sight down stay, heeling with lots of distractions, a prompt recall and an immediate emergency stop.

Traveling not just for deployments but also for training and testing is mandatory for disaster search dogs. A high degree of obedience is necessary for public access and traveling on airplanes, buses and other forms of transportation.

Our canines need to be free of dog to dog aggression. They frequently need to train, travel and work along side each other.

Aggression towards humans cannot be tolerated. Our dogs need to work around known persons and strangers without causing issues. They need to be able to ignore bystanders or rescue workers when searching in the same way as they need to ignore any other distraction when on the job.


While searching, the canine handler needs to be able to direct their dog into parts of the search area. The disaster dogs need to work independently, but at the same time need to be willing to follow their handlers instructions.

Dog and handler are a TEAM. The dogs have the scenting abilities, it is the handlers job to help their dogs to cover their whole search area.


Dog handlers need to be able to direct their dog to the sides and to go out further into an area, but they also need to be able to cue their dogs to climb (for example up into a building or down into a gap).

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