The first province-wide dog search and rescue training takes place by Carnduff
The Southeast Saskatchewan Search and Rescue Volunteer Group (SESKSAR) took a big step forward and organized the first-ever province-wide dog training program.
Twelve teams of K9 handlers recently gathered in the Carnduff area on the property of Katia Bigney, local president and K9 director for the Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV), to begin their two-way journey. years, which will lead to certification and will see the creation of the first civilian SAR K9 unit.
This means that when dog handlers learn to work with their dogs and the dogs are fully trained, they will pass the RCMP exam and become a resource in any potential search and rescue operation.
The invitation to participate in the training was sent to the 20 SAR Sections in Saskatchewan, and volunteer groups from the South East, as well as Regina, Prince Albert and Saskatoon, took the unique opportunity to learn a lot of news. information and skills, and also forge stronger bonds with their animals.
“We had a great group. Everyone was just super supportive of each other. Dan Vas of the Search Dog Association, Medicine Hat, was our instructor. He came on Friday night and we did group training, just socializing with the dogs, ”Bigney said.
The training saw all kinds of dogs participate, including German and Australian Shepherds, hunting dogs and mixed breeds. All were required to have a basic level of obedience, but Bigney said they will be holding a separate obedience and agility training workshop later this year to reinforce and develop this skill set, as those are also two criteria. RCMP test.
“My goal is to provide the canine teams with all the tools to succeed. Dan Vas is our search and rescue instructor. And I have an obedience and agility trainer, she will come in the fall, and she will help us do obedience and agility, that’s her specialty. So we’re going to provide our members with all the tools to be successful, and then they have to decide how far they want to go, ”Bigney said.
On day one, the teams focused on starting the training of entry-level K9-handler research teams. The group focused on basic search skills such as ground tracking for beginners, including entering and ending the trail.
“Tracking is about lowering your dog’s nose from the start, focusing it, then doing the tracking itself, then finding the item at the end. And that would be the end of the trail. And then get them to pull away from the article properly and come back to the original starting position, ”Bigney explained.
On day two, the group traveled to the Oxbow Gravel Pit to learn how changing terrain affects the way scent moves through the air.
“It was different terrain and we focused on odor theory, which is how an odor moves depending on the humidity, temperature and topography around you, which you have hills, may you have tall grass, everything around you, it can be fences, it can be bleachers, it can be buildings. The wind moves differently depending on temperature and humidity, and what is around you, and obviously the speed of the wind, which tells us a lot about where the smell goes and how we have to research based on these factors, so that we are giving our dog every advantage, ”Bigney explained.
“There was a lot to learn there. We used the gravel pit as a kind of playground to use talcum powder to see where the wind moves the scent the dog is trying to locate.
Everyone came back with homework on what to do to practice the newly learned skills and also what can be done individually to improve their dog’s skills. Bigney said it was a lot to take not only for the dogs but also for the handlers.
“If this dog is made for this, the master must learn to read his dog, train his dog and harmonize to get to the article. So we’re going to do our best to give all of these tools to each team, and they’re going to go home and work hard, and I hope we all do well. But we’ll find out in two years, I guess.
The next session will take place in Regina on July 17th and 18th. There will be two more SAR training sessions and an obedience and agility workshop before the end of 2021. Training will continue in 2022.
The formation of the K9 SAR team received the generous support of residents of Southeast Saskatchewan. Norm and Donna Klatt, and Mack Auctions donated $ 1,500 to SAR K9, and Becky Bayliss also donated $ 100 to help cover group expenses.
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