How did you get started in your career?
A: I had always wanted to volunteer in search and rescue, and had done some communications for a SAR team in Seattle. (I’m also a ham radio operator.) My wife and I had previously owned a Great Dane, which would not be a good search dog unless your couch went missing. By sheer chance, I ended up with a golden retriever puppy named Sierra who tested well and we got started.
How do search dogs work?
A: Search dogs work in a couple of ways. Sometimes we give the dog a scent article from the missing person and they follow their path. This works best in populated areas where there are many other human scents around. These dogs work on-lead with the handler right behind. Dogs trained this way are called “trailing dogs.”
Out in the woods, we generally don’t give a scent article, and the dogs search for any human. If we find a backpacker who happens to be in the area, we reward the d…