The varied and demanding training of disaster dog teams

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Dalmatian (dog fire)

Disaster dogs learn to search with perseverance and independently for people buried under the rubble and to designate the discovery by barking and scratching. They are learning to travel in particularly demanding terrain and not to be distracted by any kind of distraction of odors, by deafening noise, by people and by food littering the rubble.

REDOG trains dogs and handlers conscientiously and according to progressive methods. The courses take into account harmonious progress and are goal-oriented. Practical training is supplemented by continuing training in theoretical fields. Training is job-oriented research which is carried out under the most varied conditions (in different terrains and materials, at night, under the influence of many distractions, etc.). The dog handler learns to engage his dog skillfully, observe and support him in difficult situations. Any success in intervention is based on balanced teamwork and mutual trust between dog and handler.

Training - a long way to go The path to obtaining the patent is a long one and requires a great personal commitment on the part of the dog handler. The training takes place within one of the twelve regional REDOG groups. The basic training of the disaster dog often begins as a puppy or young dog. The dog learns by playing - first on the level ground and on sight - to look for a hidden person and to identify his or her discovered by barking. This research work is then transposed into a rubble ground and is arranged with increasing difficulties (more extras, extended search perimeter, distractions increased), until the dog is able to filter minute amounts of human odors from other smells and to designate them in a safe and persistent manner. Very early on, the dogs also perform training on a kind of obstacle course by confronting them with unstable elements and
unpleasant and noisy surfaces, so that they learn to move calmly and confidently in difficult rubble. Additional exercises are intended to increase their docility because in intervention it is important that the disaster dog engaged is receptive to remote indications of its driver - mainly for safety reasons.
The engagement test After a period of 3 to 4 years of intensive training and the successful completion of several examinations and aptitude tests
(level controls), the team can finally be presented to the engagement test which is organized in a way
centralized over a two-day period. This test will definitively decide whether the team can be engaged.
During this engagement test, the team must carry out 5 consecutive searches each day for a duration of 20 minutes each and a 20-minute search during the night between the two test days. In addition, the driver must pass the first aid tests for humans and dogs.
Ready for intervention at any time - throughout the dog's life The success of the engagement test, linked to the achievement of the quality of the engaged team on the central list of REDOG, does not allow the team to rest on its laurels. On the contrary: In order to be ready for intervention at any time, teams must undergo a series of specialized training sessions and must participate in engagement exercises. These will provide them with experience and enable them to acquire routine for real interventions. In addition, teams must submit each year to a training level check and they must repeat the engagement test every 3 years. So much so that the disaster dog engaged is healthy and agile and fulfills the above conditions, it may remain operational until an advanced age.

Intervention-oriented work organization - teamwork If the disaster team is delivered to itself during the engagement test, it will always be integrated into a team in case of intervention. It is composed of a team leader and three disaster teams, that is, three dogs with their driver. The teams operate on the following principle: The
first dog is given the task of locating a buried person. The second dog is then asked to confirm the discovery. The third dog rests during this work. After the confirmation by the second dog, he continues the work and locates a new person buried. At that moment the third dog is called to confirm the second discovery. The first dog rests during this time. And so on. It is not uncommon for this pattern to unfold slightly differently in intervention, especially if a particularly difficult terrain requires simultaneous location by three
dogs. In principle, teamwork has the following advantages: each team benefits from regular rest periods, allowing the entire team to work almost 24 hours a day 24. In addition, the teamwork by 3 dogs proved to be profitable because the teams can be composed by dogs with a variety of different strengths and specialities, which are that increases the team's efficiency.

Happy and motivated teams
All the training to become a disaster dog team is based on joy and passion. The diligence and the unfailing search instinct of dogs and the unshakable idealism of drivers who work on a purely voluntary basis allows REDOG to provide a large number of highly qualified teams engaged for missions in Switzerland and abroad.
The experience of several decades and continuous updating allow REDOG to provide its customers with members a highly qualified and internationally recognized training.
The profile of the disaster dog in principle, almost all dogs that meet certain criteria can be trained as
a disaster. Neither race nor gender plays an important role. Size is not a determining factor, although this factor sets certain natural limits; from experience, average size has proven to be ideal for the disaster. The essential characteristics, on the other hand, are pleasure at work, good health, agility and pressure resistance (physical and mental). Only healthy, well-trained and well-trained dogs with an untiring willingness to work are able to provide the extreme efforts required of the dog rescue engaged. In addition, he must be confident and sociable with strangers. The dogs
REDOG disaster response - in addition to their important task in the rescue service - are mainly family dogs that accompany their handler and family in the lives of all the days.

The profile of the disaster dog handler
The disaster dog handler must also meet certain requirements: He must be enthusiastic, committed and able to work as a team. The training of the disaster dog is very dependent on team spirit: no team can achieve the quality of commitment without being able to count on collaboration
disinterested in her colleagues throughout the training. It is obvious that the driver must also
be able to withstand physical and mental pressures to provide the work expected by intervention. When training the dog handler, REDOG attaches great importance to the awareness of the dangers and acceptance of personal responsibility. The dog handler must at all times be able to release itself from its obligations in favour of an intervention. That's why I'm here.
that prior written consent is required from employers. Finally, the training of the dog handler from disaster requires a great personal commitment. A disaster dog handler must be
willing to sacrifice most of his leisure time to his passion.

The profile of the team leader team leaders are disaster dog handlers with routine and experience in intervention that have undergone additional training. They are able to lead dog teams from
disaster response and coordinate their research work. They are responsible for the involvement of disaster dog teams. As a general rule, the team leader goes into intervention without his personal dog. He is also the contact person in relation to others and their officials on site and collaborates with them. When working abroad, he/she does
part of the operational structure of the Rescue Chain and coordinates the commitment of the teams of dogs with the instructions of the advisors of the affected places. He knows the teams entrusted to him and can interpret the reactions of dogs and handlers. As a result, it is able, taking into account the situation of rubble, meteorological conditions and currents, to provide information detailed enough about the position of the buried persons.

Training grounds
REDOG trains its dogs in a wide variety of places. Training grounds made available by companies, such as construction site or gravel pit depots and recycling facilities, complete the rubble tracks from the regional Civil Protection centers and Army training villages switzerland. The essential characteristics are: a wide variety of appearances, such as different materials, and a multitude of possibilities to hide extras. No training is like
another, as much as no one field of intervention research will look like another. The training that comes closest to reality are those that REDOG can organize in buildings under demolition, because collapsed structures and the multitude of odors (present in places recently inhabited) most closely resemble the situations encountered during the interventions real. For the training of disaster dogs, REDOG depends on the benevolence of companies, companies, and the partners and organizations that are willing to provide land free of charge for our training sessions.

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