Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime and Northwest Disaster Search Dogs wants to help Wilderness Search and Rescue teams be better prepared to respond to those situations in their local jurisdictions. Although the K9 teams will not be considered full-blown “disaster dogs” by learning these skills they will know where and how to start exposing their K9’s to different surfaces, situations, locations, equipment, etc. to familiarize themselves enough to be able to work. If they haven’t been introduced to the nuances of disaster work, a K9 may refuse to work as the environment is completely different from what they’ve done and are used to.
Northwest Disaster Search Dogs just spent a week in Ellensburg, Washington at the 50th Annual Washington State Search and Rescue Conference introducing dog teams to heights, moving objects, ladders, etc. to help their handlers better prepare them for this type of situation. More importantly, they also learned not to push their dogs into dangerous situations, and when to call in the “big guns” (US). They may not be interested in “certifying” in this type of K9 work, but preparation is critical. We had a great group of dogs and handlers and look forward to offering this type of training to other Wilderness SAR dogs in the future.