How Do Search and Rescue Dogs Work?
Trailing dogs are trained to pursue specific individuals by following the scent left from particles that have drifted from the body to the ground and surrounding vegetation. Trailing dogs are particularly effective when they have an item belonging to the missing individual to be used for scent identification. Most law enforcement K-9 teams use trailing dogs to find their missing subject.
Air scenting dogs can be deployed immediately in hasty searches, running along paths and travel routes, or in areas of dense vegetation in search of the missing subject. Because these dogs scan the air for human scent, they may take a more direct route to the missing individual, rather than follow the trail the person took. Also, in the event the person has been missing for a long period of time and the ground scent has dissipated, an air scenting dog can be utilized. SCSARDA K-9 teams have dogs trained in both.
Cadaver dogs are trained to find human remains. They can be deployed at any time from a few days to years after the individual has gone missing. These dogs can be effective in assisting law enforcement in finding victims or clearing suspect areas. Cadaver dogs help bring closure to families and friends in the midst of tragic circumstances.
Water cadaver dogs can be utilized to assist divers in locating a drowned victim. They can be worked from a boat or along the edge of the water. These dogs help minimize the search area by locating where a submerged human's scent is drifting to the surface of the water.