While Mountain Rescue teams have dedicated search dogs available through the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) we can also call on the skills of our local Police Dog teams and their General Purpose Search dogs to assist in Search and Rescue incidents.
We spent an entertaining and informative couple of hours on Saturday with handlers and their dogs from North Yorkshire Police to understand procedures for joint working and to understand safe protocols when with or close to the team of dog and handler.
The day started with a talk on how the dogs are selected (Standard Poodles?), trained and deployed. Much talk about tennis balls and reward along with a number of interesting case studies (some of which we had been previously involved in).
We then moved out into open ground for practical demonstrations of the various techniques used to search, find and indicate missing persons and property.
To add a little spice at the end of each successful search we were given excellent demonstrations of how the dogs deal with their other class of, shall we say less than honest, ‘customer’ when or if they become uncooperative.
To quote our Assistant Chief Constable the morning was a ‘fine example of partnership working to keep our communities safe’.
Our Incident Controllers now have a good working knowledge of a superb asset, available locally, to help in our search planning and execution.
Our Party Leaders and troops on the ground have practical experience of the ability of the combination of officer and dog in search and understand safe working with the dogs.