K9 Search and Rescue

Training that works by harnessing your dog's instincts.

Dr. Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak have trained search and rescue dogs for more than 30 years and have taken part in rescue operations around the world. They serve as training directors and international judges for the International Red Cross Federation, the United Nations, the International Rescue Dog Organization and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Based on their decades of study and experience, their innovative SAR training method is rooted in a firm, scientific understanding of K9 instincts.

Step-by-step instructions, dozens of illustrations and photographs from the field establish a professional K9 SAR program to benefit both beginners and experts.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Contents 6
Foreword 10
Introduction 12
Buried Deep Under Debris 13
Deployment 14
Team Building 15
1 The History of Search and Rescue Dogs 20
Red Cross Dogs 20
Bringsel Technique 22
Rescue Dogs in World War II 23
“Knock and Call” Search Method 28
Success in Romania 30
Saving Lives, Recovering Bodies 31
2 Training the Natural Way 34
The Origins of Our Method 34
Looking for Solutions 38
What Is a Search and Rescue Dog? 39
Using the Hunting Drive 40
3 The Hunting Drive Complex 42
Aspects of the Hunting Drive Complex 42
The Six Phases of the Dog’s Search 47
An Ideal Way to Use the Drives 52
Search Passion 53
Conditioning 53
The Right Drives 53
A Full Partner 54
4 Training in Three Steps 56
Young Dog Training 57
Adult Dog Training 58
The Learning Process 59
5 Stimulating Interest in the Sock Toy 66
Things That Move Are Prey 66
Search and Prey Playing 67
Developing the Search Passion 68
Misunderstandings in Training 68
Interfering with Play 69
Prey Sharing 70
Introducing a Verbal Command 70
Introducing Rubble Walks 72
6 Connecting the Sock Toy with Human Scent 76
Wilderness Search 76
Disaster Search 79
Reward at the Right Moment 80
Avoid Frustrations 81
Smuggling the Replacement Prey 83
7 Linking the Search Field and a Human to the Sock Toy 86
Leading the Hunt 86
Releasing to Hunt 87
Handling 87
Frustration 89
Direction-Showing Alerts 90
Importance of Training Helpers 90
Rubble Experience 91
Training Essentials 94
Searching Without Prey 95
8 Wilderness Search 102
Search Methods 102
Missing Persons 109
Types of Alerts 109
Training the Barking Alert 113
Training the Bringsel Alert 113
Training the Recall Alert 120
Training Ranging 121
9 Rubble Search 134
Trapped People 134
Types of Alert 135
Training Rubble Search 138
Behavioristic Approach 144
Intelligence 144
10 Disaster Deployment Tactics 160
Dangers and Security 160
Signs of a Collapse 161
Call Out 163
The Packed Backpack 164
Preparing for a Mission Abroad 167
Ten Basic Rules 171
The Five Phases Method 174
Marking Box 188
11 Building Damage Typology 200
Elements of Damage 200
12 Avalanche Search 234
Dangers 234
Dog Bivouac 236
The Training Hole 237
Dog Training 240
Avalanche Probe 243
Avalanche Transceiver 246
Transceiver Search Methods 247
Avalanche Deployment Tactics 250
13 A Serious Task 264
With Faultless Precision 264
Mutual Confidence 265
Which Dogs Can Become SAR Dogs? 266
Who Can Become a Handler? 268
And Who Not? 269
Teamwork 269
Mission Readiness Test 271
Hard Work 271
14 International Rescue Dog Tests 274
IPO-R 274
More Than Sports 275
Testing Structure 276
Mission Readiness Test—Rubble 277
Mission Readiness Test—Area 279
Notes 282
Bibliography 284
About the Authors 286