Labrador Retriever | Rigorous Training for Search and Rescue
The task of the Labrador Retriever dog, called the “best cadaver dog in the world” by one search and rescue expert, is to focus on the scent and follow it anywhere it may lead, no matter how difficult it is to track or how many other odors serve as distractions along the way. Thus, the dogs in question are carefully chosen. Dogs with a strong love of and ability to play, like Labrador Retriever dogs, are perfect for the role, because they will see the job as a never rending game of “fetch.”
During the intensive training sessions, Labrador Retrievers (and many other breeds) are taught to follow scents over tough terrain and in different weather conditions of ranging difficulties, as well as to identify the scents of cadavers in water. Regular training sessions hone these skills, and handlers often give the dogs daily training at home. In real live searches, handlers must strike a difficult balance – praising the do for finding the victim to keep the dog's training going, even as they pay close attention to the task at hand.
Additionally, search and rescue handlers are some of the most helpful members of the dog-owning world – and many are volunteers, who spend their own money on materials to help with training and upkeep of the dogs. Teams track all sorts of search objects – from lost children, the elderly or senile, fishermen or hunters who have not returned, hikers, and , if the team has police training-felons.