Minnesota Search and Rescue Dog Association


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So where do I start ? You will hear this again and again...it takes a huge commitment. Carefully read and digest the information below. This web site contains many useful resources and links to other sites with a wealth of information on SAR.... RESEARCH! You may initially want to become a unit volunteer. Everything takes time, becoming a SAR professional does not happen overnight.

Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

1. Am I comfortable in a wilderness setting, in the dark, in confined areas and working independently?

2. Do I like medium to large, very active, high energy dogs?

3. Am I in good physical shape and do I handle stress well?

4. Do I have the time available to be a reliable member in the unit?

5. Can I pass a criminal background check?

If you answered yes to the above questions and still want to learn more, contact us at training@minnsarda.com and arrange to come out to a training session.


Search and Rescue is not glamorous!

A sincere commitment, desire and dedication are required to be a member of a search and rescue team. After all, lives are at stake sometimes including a teammate's or your own. You should consider your lifestyle, commitments to home and family and limits on your time in thinking about joining us. You should honestly discuss these issues with your employer and your loved ones. Many hours of training and the possibility of being called out at any time day or night should be seriously considered. Your employer's flexibility must be considered. Could you reasonably be allowed to leave work with very little notice? Additionally, unit members find that significant personal financial resources go toward search and rescue.

New members of MinnSARDA are NOT required to train a dog. There are many support roles that are very important, such as search management, communications, logistics or field support. All handlers and support personnel must become certified in navigation, radio communications and survival skills as well as obtaining a first aid/CPR accreditation. For those people interested in training their current dog, we require a mandatory one month probationary period during which time we encourage future dog handlers to learn the positive and negative aspects of training a search dog before taking on this challenge. All new members must go through a minimum six month probation and training period before being mission-ready. Expect to take an additional one to two years training a dog to become mission ready.

For people who do not want to join or cannot join but who may want to assist us, we welcome your help in training our dogs on whatever basis you can provide. We are always looking for new "victims" and new locations to practice.

Training sessions are held regardless of weather, unless it poses a threat to dog or human welfare. After all, people get lost in all kinds of conditions and we are expected to be able to search in all kinds of weather. There is a tremendous satisfaction in becoming a member of a valuable community resource and, if you choose to be a dog handler, in building a working relationship with your dog. There is even more satisfaction in knowing that you could save someone's life. If you are interested in finding out more about MinnSARDA, come to one of our training sessions (please call beforehand) which are posted on the training calendar page.






© 2013 Minnesota Search and Rescue Dog Association