Who can join the team?
A team member must be in good physical condition to perform whichever job on the team he or she
is assigned. For instance, a person assigned to a
search team in a wilderness environment must be able to walk long hours
and climb steep hills and in and out of creek bottoms.
There are, however, positions on the team, such as at the command post, where physical condition is not as vital to perform
A background investigation is mandatory on applicants and a person wishing to join
the team must not have a criminal
Do I have to have a dog to join?
No, there are a number of different roles a team member can fulfill, such as a flanker,
who accompanies the dog and handler on a search. The flanker
may navigate the team with a compass or GPS. The flanker may
carry extra gear on the search or act as an extra pair
Will my personal dog be good at Search and Rescue?
Most people who join our team do so with their family pet. Some of these dogs have the
drive and ability necessary to become good search and rescue dogs, while some do not. Some people quit the team and do not continue if
their dog does not have what it takes. Other people will continue on the
team as member in one of the other needed positions.
Some acquire a new puppy and train him from that age to do this
work. However, the old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new
tricks" is not always true! You can train an older dog for
this work if he has the aptitude, however, it
takes one to two years to get most dogs fully trained. A dog
may have a life span of eight to ten years. If he is
years old when his training begins and then it takes one to two
years to train him, age may affect his ability to perform once
his training is complete. It is recommended that training
of the beginner dog be
started at no older than five years of age. Because of this
longer working life, the younger training is begun, the better, even if they
are just pups.
What breeds of dogs are preferred?
Medium to large breeds, such as labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, border collies,
german shepherds, belgian malinois, hounds. Some beagles are
also very good at this work.
What type of searches are our dogs trained for?
We train dogs to air scent
, by picking up the scent of a person,
by the wind carrying that person's scent to the dog's nose, when
there is no track to follow. We train tracking/trailing
to follow the path a person actually took, by smelling tiny skin
rafts that fall continously from our bodies to the ground,
collecting on the ground and surrounding vegetation. The tracking
dogs are also believed to be smelling crushed vegetation and insects
along the track, in addition to the skin rafts. We also train dogs
to detect human remains
, on land and under water. Some dogs
can be trained to do all these types of searches, while others may
be only able to learn one discipline.
How often does the team train?
Every Sunday afternoon at 2pm we do search training. Occasionally, we have
a recruitment meeting and have a number of new members join the
team. When this happens, we have obedience training for the new
dog teams on Wednesday at 6:30pm, for two to three months. Some
members meet once during the week and just walk together,
building their own physical stamina. The second Friday night of
we have classroom training, for an hour.
What equipment will I be required to have?
To start off, a person only needs the proper collar and leash for their dog, as well as
a dog crate. Dogs are required to be kept in a crate during
search training, when they are not actually in training
themselves. Once a person decides they want to remain on the
team, there is a number of items they need to
purchase, such as snake boots, briar chaps, leather gloves,
backpack, hydration systems, compass, etc.
Does the team only search in Bowie County, Texas?
No. We will respond to any location, within
reason, where we are requested by law enforcement or fire
departments. This would be primarily in the Four States Region
of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, however it could be other
For additional information, Please see our