Dogs With Jobs: Rescue Dogs
Dogs make fantastic pets. but they are also very smart animals that can be used to do important jobs, including rescuing people that have got lost or become trapped.
Dogs have been used to help find and rescue people for a long time. During the First World war, dogs were trained to locate injured people on the battlefield so that the Red Cross could treat them. During the London Blitz, dogs were used to locate people trapped in buildings so that rescue teams could find them more easily.
Unsurprisingly, one of the main reasons that dogs make such good finders is because of their excellent sense of smell. Dogs have around 300 million scent receptors in their noses, compared to around 6 million in humans. Not only that, but the part of a dog’s brain that is dedicated to analysing smells is around 40 times better than ours and much more than any man-made scent-tracking instrument.
How are dogs trained to find and rescue people?
Rescue dogs are trained to use human scent to ‘find’ people. In many instances, they are looking for the scent of people in general, rather than a specific person. Once they have picked up the scent, they will follow it until they find the missing person. When they do, they will return to their handler and bark or jump up at them to ‘tell’ them, before leading them back to the person that they have found.
However, dogs can be trained to look for a specific person. To find this person, they first need to be introduced to something covered in that person’s scent, ideally an item of clothing like a jumper or shirt.
Most search and rescue dogs live and train with a human who is known as their handler. Their handler has a very special relationship with them, and it takes around 600 hours of training for a dog to be ready to go out and work as a rescue dog.
Where do rescue dogs operate?
Rescue dogs operate in all different types of terrain across the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man. This includes towns, countryside, woodlands, marshlands, ponds, lakes, rivers, reservoirs and mountains and snow. This means that wherever you find yourself in trouble, a rescue dog could find you. It isn’t just the UK that has search and rescue dogs either – other countries have them too.
Rescue dog stories!
We’ve found a few videos about some different rescue dogs that you might find interesting!
Say hello to Ben, an amazing rescue dog working for the Search Dog Foundation in America.
Meet Tremper, an avalanche rescue dog!
And finally, check out Bracken, the Springer Spaniel working as a rescue dog for Cleveland Mountain Rescue!
For other cool and interesting facts about dogs and tips on caring for your furry pal, sign up to the Zara Dog Dog Club today!