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sarx
01-19-2011, 01:16 PM
In order to help answer questions and keep MP threads clean I'm going to start a thread here that everyone can ask there K9 questions and hopefully we will have answers for you! Please keep this to only K9 SAR questions. If it looks like we need a SAR Q&A as well, let me know and I can start one of those.

If you are professional K9 SAR and are not verified, please do so, the more the merrier!

Cubby
01-19-2011, 01:33 PM
Thank you sarx! I think this will be a much needed and useful thread for us.

I'll start with a few questions.

How are search dogs able to determine if a scent is traced from the day a person went missing or an earlier time and are they able?

tia

sarx
01-19-2011, 03:25 PM
Thank you sarx! I think this will be a much needed and useful thread for us.

I'll start with a few questions.

How are search dogs able to determine if a scent is traced from the day a person went missing or an earlier time and are they able?

tia

Cubby, didn't want you to think we were ignoring you. This is an excellent question and we are working on a good thorough answer for you. This is one that has come up alot and we don't want to give just the short answer, but transferring it into something make sense to the non dog world takes a little bit of time!

sarx
01-19-2011, 03:37 PM
Ok, I think a very important thing that needs to be discussed/explained is that there is a HUGE difference between Police K9 and SAR K9. Often when reading these cases what you are seeing in Police K9 coming out. They are rarely trained for the trailing that is needed for a missing person. It is very important that we find out what type of a dog was used initially as this makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of the initial search.

SugarQueen
01-19-2011, 09:05 PM
I have been wanting to ask this question for several days but didn't have a place to put it!! In general, how old of a scent can SAR dogs track outdoors, and how does weather/ temperature affect it?

sarx
01-20-2011, 02:19 AM
Thank you sarx! I think this will be a much needed and useful thread for us.

I'll start with a few questions.

How are search dogs able to determine if a scent is traced from the day a person went missing or an earlier time and are they able?

tia

Sorry for the delay, it's been a rough day. I've gone back and forth as to how in depth to explain things here and my current way of thinking is start basic and go deeper as needed. (Which is opposite of what I thought earlier today). I realized that it took us years and years to learn what we know and trying to really explain it and put it out there would probably confuse more than it would help, so...

The basic answer for this is that the dogs are going to follow the freshest scent that they are put on. The last part of that sentence is important. If you start a dog somewhere where the person has been, even multiple times, they are going to follow the freshest trail, but that does not necessarily mean it was the last trail the person left. This is why a place last seen (PLS) is so important. Make sense? (If not, please never hesitate to say "huh? I don't get it" and we'll try again. Sometimes it makes sense in our brains, but not to anyone else!

sarx
01-20-2011, 02:47 AM
I have been wanting to ask this question for several days but didn't have a place to put it!! In general, how old of a scent can SAR dogs track outdoors, and how does weather/ temperature affect it?

Being that you said "track" I assume we are talking about a living person using a trailing dog? If so....
Training places a HUGE factor in this question. What a dog trains for is what they are going to be able to accurately work.
I think it's important to know the certification requirements used by NASAR (National Association of Search and Rescue), which is the industry standard.
sartech 3 which is the most basic
trail to 1 miles in length, do it within 1 hour, including breaks. Track is aged between 2-4 hours

sartech 2
trail 1 to 1 1/2 miles in length, in the wilderness, do it within 2 hours. Track is aged between 8-12 hours

sartech 1-the highest level in NASAR
trail is 1 to 1 1/2 miles in length, do it within 3 hours Track is aged between 24-30 hours. In sartech 1 you have to do this in both wilderness and urban settings.

There are other requirements and training, but this gives you an idea of what the dogs have to train for to pass.

The problem with this is very seldom does real life SAR actually coincide with these testing requirements (and because people are training to pass these tests, this is what their dogs can do).

Most of the time a person isn't even reported as missing until they've missed dinner, and the family has looked for them, and, and.... This means that the person has often already been truly missing/lost for 8-12 hours before the call is made to LE. Then, as you well know it can be hours if not days before a dog is actually called. As you can see, that doesn't fit so well with the ages of the trails in the tests.

There are a lot of great handlers and dogs out there though that do train on more real life time trails. There are some variances on what the comfort level is for an "old" trail, but here IMO is a general "timeline" of sorts
0-1 days hot trail, if it's an area where the person is in everyday, it can be difficult for some dogs as there are so many trails laid over one another and nothing has had a chance to settle.
2-5 days Excellent results with weather playing only a small role (barring hurricanes, tornadoes, and other catastrophic weather).
6-9 days still very reliable results but weather plays a bigger factor.
10-14 days variables really start to play in and training on these ages is crucial.
Past 14 days to 21 days the results in my experience are very mixed.
After that I am not comfortable at all.

Yes, weather and terrain play a huge factor as does what kind of weather and terrain you train in. Extremes are bad. Dogs that are not used to working in certain climates are going to have reduced success. We can explore weather on another post as this one is already getting very long!

Mind you, other handlers may have different times, these are just mine. I will say though that given the science behind "scent" I am really not into the whole "trailing a year later" thing. Again, for another time.

SugarQueen
01-20-2011, 08:23 AM
Thank you Sarx for such a complete, yet understandable answer! This thread is a great idea!

Oriah
01-20-2011, 08:56 AM
Being that you said "track" I assume we are talking about a living person using a trailing dog? If so....
Training places a HUGE factor in this question. What a dog trains for is what they are going to be able to accurately work.
I think it's important to know the certification requirements used by NASAR (National Association of Search and Rescue), which is the industry standard.
sartech 3 which is the most basic
trail to 1 miles in length, do it within 1 hour, including breaks. Track is aged between 2-4 hours

sartech 2
trail 1 to 1 1/2 miles in length, in the wilderness, do it within 2 hours. Track is aged between 8-12 hours

sartech 1-the highest level in NASAR
trail is 1 to 1 1/2 miles in length, do it within 3 hours Track is aged between 24-30 hours. In sartech 1 you have to do this in both wilderness and urban settings.

There are other requirements and training, but this gives you an idea of what the dogs have to train for to pass.

The problem with this is very seldom does real life SAR actually coincide with these testing requirements (and because people are training to pass these tests, this is what their dogs can do).

Most of the time a person isn't even reported as missing until they've missed dinner, and the family has looked for them, and, and.... This means that the person has often already been truly missing/lost for 8-12 hours before the call is made to LE. Then, as you well know it can be hours if not days before a dog is actually called. As you can see, that doesn't fit so well with the ages of the trails in the tests.

There are a lot of great handlers and dogs out there though that do train on more real life time trails. There are some variances on what the comfort level is for an "old" trail, but here IMO is a general "timeline" of sorts
0-1 days hot trail, if it's an area where the person is in everyday, it can be difficult for some dogs as there are so many trails laid over one another and nothing has had a chance to settle.
2-5 days Excellent results with weather playing only a small role (barring hurricanes, tornadoes, and other catastrophic weather).
6-9 days still very reliable results but weather plays a bigger factor.
10-14 days variables really start to play in and training on these ages is crucial.
Past 14 days to 21 days the results in my experience are very mixed.
After that I am not comfortable at all.

Yes, weather and terrain play a huge factor as does what kind of weather and terrain you train in. Extremes are bad. Dogs that are not used to working in certain climates are going to have reduced success. We can explore weather on another post as this one is already getting very long!

Mind you, other handlers may have different times, these are just mine. I will say though that given the science behind "scent" I am really not into the whole "trailing a year later" thing. Again, for another time.


Great answer, sarx. The science of K9 SAR scentwork is very complex.

I'd up your 10+ day aged trails with rigorous training, and cross trained dogs. But not all handlers/trainers would agree.

For that purpose, it's also important to clarify what or who exactly is being 'trailed' vs 'tracked.' Someone on foot is different than someone being dragged which is different than someone being carried, vs someone on a vehicle vs a motorized vehicle etc. Someone alive vs someone who was alive but then deceased, or someone who was deceased to begin with, etc. The list goes on.

That's when it can be useful to have a cross-trained HRD dog. FEMA is the SAR K9 standard for this.
While most commonly used in disasters, they are also useful when trying to locate remains or evidence of missing persons in places such as landfills, swamps, places where there is a lot of decomp.

Also wanted to add that 'police K9s' are often trained in scent work specifically but it is more typical to have those scents be narcotics, explosives, and accelerants.

sarx
01-20-2011, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the add on Oriah. Let's extrapolate further on the difference in walking, running, dragging, car, etc. Good idea or no?? I think it's your turn, having trouble forming complete sentences, lol.

Oriah
01-20-2011, 01:09 PM
Thanks for the add on Oriah. Let's extrapolate further on the difference in walking, running, dragging, car, etc. Good idea or no?? I think it's your turn, having trouble forming complete sentences, lol.

Good idea- yes. Complicated though!

I'll work on an explanation and be back in a few, lol; but I'll begin by saying that 'scent' in K9 SAR work is particle based. Whether it's a particle we can see visually, or a particle we can smell or taste- it's still all about a specific particle.
Particles are shed from lots of different things, at different rates of speed, and in different manners. The item a particle is shed from, the speed at which it traveled, and the manner in which it traveled are key to successful SAR K9s.

I'll come back with more, if folks are interested.

mahoneys07
01-20-2011, 01:23 PM
I posted a question so to speak in the regular Hailey thread so I am going to ask it here

I know the dogs brough in early on have been basically discounted but I was wondering if say a person walk a certain route everyday would this cause a trail to be stronger say 4 days in.??

For example Hailey went to her dads everyday usually..I am sure she took the same route each time ..so would this trail appear to be stronger after 4 days because she frequently walked it?

Oriah
01-20-2011, 01:39 PM
I posted a question so to speak in the regular Hailey thread so I am going to ask it here

I know the dogs brough in early on have been basically discounted but I was wondering if say a person walk a certain route everyday would this cause a trail to be stronger say 4 days in.??

For example Hailey went to her dads everyday usually..I am sure she took the same route each time ..so would this trail appear to be stronger after 4 days because she frequently walked it?

It would appear to be stronger to a dog not trained specifically in specific scent discrimination. To a dog that has been trained properly for a specific scent discrimination; the dog would alert or follow the most recent trail.
So for example- lets say you or I walk to the corner coffee shop every morning. Our feet fall along the same path, but probably not in the exact same spots.

A dog trained for this type of tracking will follow all of those steps, and blend them into one path. That's very useful when there's been a very small window of time that has elapsed, and the direction of travel is known.

A dog that is properly trained for specific trailing however, should follow the most recent path taken by the particle of scent it was scented on. So sometimes you'll see a dog following a path do circles, or stopping and turning left or right, then continuing on. Much like we humans do when walking.

So, say one day you're walking to the coffee shop and you hit a green light. You stop to cross when it's red. You deposit more scent while stopped at the light.
The next day, you're a minute later and you catch the light. So your scent particle is not as heavily deposited at the crossing, but instead continues through. A trailing dog should follow the most recent scent, despite the heavier scent deposit from the day earlier when we were stuck at the light.

Make sense?

sarx
01-20-2011, 11:24 PM
Hi All, just wanted to let you know that Oriah and I are going to be offline starting tomorrow until Monday morning. We will have limited access to the internet, so if you don't hear from us that's why.

Cubby
01-21-2011, 12:21 PM
Take your time... and thank you for so much useful information!

I have two questions for when you get back.

1)How would snow on the ground interfer with tracking and would it? I initially meant a person walking over already fallen snow but perhaps both that way and if snow had recently fallen on a trail.

2)I would like to just clarify I understand the following in general terms. A handler would be able to determine an estimated time a person was last at a location based on the length of a trail and how long it took the dog to track it? Am I understanding correctly?

thank you soooo much! And WhyA' thank you for your posting reiterating this thread is for general rather than case specific questions and answers.

Kimster
01-24-2011, 12:53 AM
Sleuthers Come Here-Information and Resources - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community

We have a new resource forum in Lighting the Way Home. Did you guys want this moved there? Normally we do not moved private forum threads to the public forum, so I wanted to check with you guys first.

sarx
01-24-2011, 11:33 AM
Sleuthers Come Here-Information and Resources - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community (http://www.websleuths.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=180)

We have a new resource forum in Lighting the Way Home. Did you guys want this moved there? Normally we do not moved private forum threads to the public forum, so I wanted to check with you guys first.

Hi Kimster, thanks for asking. Oriah and I talked it over and think that sounds great. This Q&A should be available to all out there! Thanks!

sarx
01-25-2011, 05:28 PM
Take your time... and thank you for so much useful information!

I have two questions for when you get back.

1)How would snow on the ground interfer with tracking and would it? I initially meant a person walking over already fallen snow but perhaps both that way and if snow had recently fallen on a trail.

2)I would like to just clarify I understand the following in general terms. A handler would be able to determine an estimated time a person was last at a location based on the length of a trail and how long it took the dog to track it? Am I understanding correctly?

thank you soooo much! And WhyA' thank you for your posting reiterating this thread is for general rather than case specific questions and answers.

Snow is going to interfere in a variety of ways, the largest one being that most dogs don't train in it. Scent does different things in different conditions and snow is one of those. If a person goes missing in a snow covered area I would bring in avalanche dogs, even if there was no avalanche, make sense? They're capable of pretty much anything, if they've been exposed to it and trained in it.

As to the second question.... I personally would not feel comfortable putting a "time stamp" on a trail. I could give a generalized idea, like this trail is several days old, or just hours, or weeks, but that's all I would be willing to say. Again, no two trails are the same, the behavior of the person, their condition, the terrain, the weather, and so on all make up for the condition of the trail.

sarx
01-25-2011, 05:31 PM
I posted a question so to speak in the regular Hailey thread so I am going to ask it here

I know the dogs brough in early on have been basically discounted but I was wondering if say a person walk a certain route everyday would this cause a trail to be stronger say 4 days in.??

For example Hailey went to her dads everyday usually..I am sure she took the same route each time ..so would this trail appear to be stronger after 4 days because she frequently walked it?

The dogs should follow the freshest scent, however it is not uncommon in my experience for dogs to have difficulty at times if it is an area where the person walks everyday and has done so for a long time. Basically their scent is everyone, fresh trails, older ones, scent up against the brush, you name it.

Oriah
01-25-2011, 05:38 PM
I agree with SarX but it's one of those weird things. My dogs are trained to indicate on blood but on my landfill search they did not indicate on the myriad of used feminine products that was strewn everywhere which was a concern of LE and myself. Its almost like the dog(s) considered them to be part of that "natural" enviroment (my opinion, not scientifically proven) so not unordinary or noteworthy. But in another case at a home search, they hit on some walls, kitchen sink, mop, and other items that the CSI techs later confirmed contained victim blood. Its almost like at some level, based on the search location, the dog is making a decision of "this" belongs here, "that" does not.

Disclaimer: the above is strictly my own opinion and has not been scientifically proven and based entirely on my own direct observations.

Question just for clarification on type of dog used: what kind of human remains are your dogs trained on? Blood ages similar to human remains. Old blood is one thing- fresh another. And then it ages after it remains. HRD dogs have specializations in this; so the validity of a landfill-type search will depend on this training as well.

Oriah
01-25-2011, 05:56 PM
I agree with SarX but it's one of those weird things. My dogs are trained to indicate on blood but on my landfill search they did not indicate on the myriad of used feminine products that was strewn everywhere which was a concern of LE and myself. Its almost like the dog(s) considered them to be part of that "natural" enviroment (my opinion, not scientifically proven) so not unordinary or noteworthy. But in another case at a home search, they hit on some walls, kitchen sink, mop, and other items that the CSI techs later confirmed contained victim blood. Its almost like at some level, based on the search location, the dog is making a decision of "this" belongs here, "that" does not.

Disclaimer: the above is strictly my own opinion and has not been scientifically proven and based entirely on my own direct observations.


BBM: trying to stick to Hailey's case, but this bothers me a bit.
Well trained HRD dogs are trained to hit on specifically aged remians (i.e-blood.)
Blood (human or otherwise) can occur anywhere and everywhere. Cut a finger peeling a potato in the sink and then call in an HRD dog? With a properly trained dog, trained to discern fresh vs aged HRD scent...they should hit.
Cut a finger peeling a potato in the sink and then abandon the house for 6 months or 6 years...then call in an aged scent HRD and get a hit- two totally different things.

HRD is not that different from scent trailing or tracking. It all ages, and it all changes according to a dogs' nose.

That's why it's so important to know the training of the dogs used, and when the HRD scent might have begun. Kwim?

This is the problem with Hailey's timeline, IMO. Among many.

sarx
01-25-2011, 06:04 PM
I think this is going to throw people into a state of confusion. Are you saying that an HRD dog is going to hit on every bandaid, tampon, pad, knee rub on the sheet, hangnail that bled, bloody nose tissue, etc?

Oriah
01-25-2011, 08:41 PM
I think this is going to throw people into a state of confusion. Are you saying that an HRD dog is going to hit on every bandaid, tampon, pad, knee rub on the sheet, hangnail that bled, bloody nose tissue, etc?

No, no no! Sorry for the confusion. I'm talking about timing. How long blood or other bodily fluids have been on a scene, before a specially trained dog can hold a hit in court. Sorry- probably a response for the SAR dog thread.

Oriah
01-25-2011, 10:05 PM
Snow is going to interfere in a variety of ways, the largest one being that most dogs don't train in it. Scent does different things in different conditions and snow is one of those. If a person goes missing in a snow covered area I would bring in avalanche dogs, even if there was no avalanche, make sense? They're capable of pretty much anything, if they've been exposed to it and trained in it.

As to the second question.... I personally would not feel comfortable putting a "time stamp" on a trail. I could give a generalized idea, like this trail is several days old, or just hours, or weeks, but that's all I would be willing to say. Again, no two trails are the same, the behavior of the person, their condition, the terrain, the weather, and so on all make up for the condition of the trail.

In contrast, but not in controversy to the 2nd question- I would be willing to put a time stamp (so to speak) on my own specific dogs, because I have time stamped then over and over again.

But inevitably- there is failure there as well. No living creature performs at their best or their most knowledgable at all times. Sort of like knowing your brand new, fully protected computer should not crash. And then it does. ;)

dsntslp
01-25-2011, 10:19 PM
This thread is a great idea!

Thanks Oriah and Sarx!

Oriah
01-28-2011, 09:45 AM
Wanted to add some further info on FEMA and SAR dogs:
Handler and dog training and certification, and why these types of dogs and handlers are so highly regarded:
http://www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/caninecert.shtm
http://www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/canineready.shtm

ETA: And here is where you can really get a good idea of how much work goes into training these dogs and handlers:
http://www.disasterdog.org/forms/policies/2010_updates/CSSC_Annex.pdf

sarx
01-28-2011, 11:33 PM
Here's a general list broken down by state of what states have FEMA dogs
updated January 2011
http://www.disasterdog.org/forms/rosters/K9Roster_Jan2011.pdf

sarx
01-28-2011, 11:34 PM
To get a true grasp on FEMA standards, I think the stats here are also good to see.
http://www.disasterdog.org/forms/CanineStats2010.pdf

Kimster
01-30-2011, 12:12 PM
What is the "40 degree rule" when it comes to cadaver dogs as they are searching?

nursebeeme
01-30-2011, 04:05 PM
sarx is it normal to have the me come out on a search?

as there is a member of the me out with the kyron search today!

((link in main thread))

sarx
01-30-2011, 04:09 PM
sarx is it normal to have the me come out on a search?

as there is a member of the me out with the kyron search today!

((link in main thread))

No, I wouldn't call it normal.

sarx
01-30-2011, 04:22 PM
What is the "40 degree rule" when it comes to cadaver dogs as they are searching?

You know, this is a tough one for me. Again, this goes back to training. Scent behavior changes at various temps. But, to say a dog can't work in temps below 40 degrees is inaccurate. They can't work in it because they don't train in it. Think of avalanche dogs... They work in temps WAY colder than that. It's good to know the limits of your training, but it is not fair to make a blanket statement either. I know of some dogs/handlers that have gone in worked in Europe in frozen tundra conditions with success, just requires a special dog and a whole lot more training. KWIM?

Oriah
01-31-2011, 10:30 AM
Here's a general list broken down by state of what states have FEMA dogs
updated January 2011
http://www.disasterdog.org/forms/rosters/K9Roster_Jan2011.pdf

Please also note that states listed without FEMA dogs generally just fall into a wider territory. So for example, if you are in GA, NC, SC (which might not have FEMA Task teams) then dogs and handlers may exist with FEMA certifications there, they would just be grouped in with, say VA or FL or whatever was the closest task team.

Also- in those areas many cities and counties have emergency management mobile command centers; but many do not even have that.

Oriah
01-31-2011, 10:36 AM
What is the "40 degree rule" when it comes to cadaver dogs as they are searching?

There is no rule of thumb here; unfortunately as sarx pointed out- it all comes down to the conditions a dog has been trained under. I won't repeat sarx's post but will add an example: many military working dogs are trained in a variety of different environments, because their handlers may be deployed at any time under a very wide variety of terrain and weather conditions, ranging from Siberia or Northern Germany (very chilly!) or Iraq or Afghanistan etc- where dust storms and 100+ temps are the norm during the summer.

Here in the States, volunteer SAR dogs are typically trained in mild, somewhat 'ideal' training weather- which is where the 40 degree 'rule' comes into play. But it is inaccurate when a dog has been trained under more rigourous and varied standards- which some professional and government entities do.

Oriah
01-31-2011, 10:42 AM
No, I wouldn't call it normal.

No disrespect intended- but in certain instances, it is not abnormal in my experience. If LE has a very viable lead that they feel may lead to the discovery of human remains, certain counties will call out an ME.

And MOO, but it also matters whether or not the ME in a particular county is elected... or appointed. Kwim?

Oriah
02-01-2011, 03:11 PM
Adding another link for informational purposes of SAR dogs:
http://www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/canine_wilderness_track.htm

bessie
11-20-2011, 10:29 PM
Bringing over some questions answered by Oriah in another thread.

Bringing forward from last thread for Oriah (hope that's okay)

Questions for HRD Dog Experts:

1. Can human decomp be "transferred" onto an item it comes in contact with in passing? eg. A body was once on a floor. Someone removes body and cleans floor. A different person comes in and walks on the clean floor. Would the 2nd person's shoes have remnants of the decomp, from walking on the floor?

A: Possible, but variable. In that instance, a lot would depend on what was used to clean the floor, and what kind of shoes the person was wearing. And the amount of decomp present.

2. How much decomp is required to be on an item for the item to cause an HRD Dog to alert? Will a well trained dog alert on a minute amount?

A: It depends on the training the dog has had. Yes, a well-trained HRD dog can alert on a very small amount of decomp.

3. If an HRD Dog alerts in one area, and runs to another, will they continue to run to every single area decomp has come into contact with?

A: If there are multiple locations of decomp in an area, an HRD dog should alert on the closest and most dense particle scent they are exposed to. After alerting and being released by their handler, they should proceed to the next most dense scent area and alert. Repeat, until the dog stops alerting.

4. What is the geographical radius that an HRD Dog will alert on, once it has picked up one alert?

A: Not sure of the question?

5. What is the time frame that a decomp scent will remain detectable for?

A: Human remains go through many different stages of decomp- and decomp scent depend on a lot of variables (such as environment.) HRD dogs can be trained to distinguish many different 'aged' scents. So it depends on the dog, the scent training of the dog, and the circumstances of the remains detected.

6. Do bleach and other chemicals interfere with the HRD dogs ability to alert?

A: Sometimes. It depends upon the density of the scent particles deposited.

7. Will a K9 SAR dog alert, even if the missing person has not actually been in a room? For example, if the missing person A has been in contact while alive with person B, could enough of A's living scent, be transferred to person B, enough for the SAR dog to hit in B's apartment?
A: Not likely, unless there is a transfer of a scent article(s).


So, could a dog sense decomp coming from within an area, behind a closed door? And would he then alert at the door?

Yes.
If a door to a room in a home or business or whatever were closed, and on the other side of the door there were human remains- an HRD dog should first alert at the door. That is not because they are trailing or tracking- it's because they are close enough to the source of the scent they are looking for- but have encounted obstacles in alerting right at the source. If the door is opened for the dog, and remains are, say, at the opposite side of the room- the dog should alert again, right at the location of the remains.
Properly trained HRD dogs should NOT be hitting on anything other than decomp. Dirty diapers are not decomp, unless there are trace amounts of decomp ON them.
Human remains are exactly that- remains of humans. There has to be biological human remains present for an HRD dog to alert accurately.

That said- there would have to be trace human remains left behind (no matter the substrate) in order to have an accurate and verified hit from an HRD dog.
above bbm
Scent articles are items taken from a missing persons belongings, that contain a large amount of scent particles, that are specific to the missing person.

Scent articles are typically used to help a SAR K9 track or trail.

Scent particles can be both airborn, and deposited- depending on their composition.
Dog owners can think of it this way:

Scenario #1:
You take your dog for a walk. Your dog puts their head up and sniffs the air. Your dog is scenting on air particles (which are tiny gas molecules) coming from something dead. Your dog then runs over to a dead animal on the side of the road. Your dog is now scenting on deposited scent particles (which are much more dense than gas molecules.)
Your dog has found the most dense source of that particular scent.

Scenario #2:
You take your dog for a walk. Your dog puts their head up and sniffs the air. Your dog is scenting on air particles (which are tiny gas molecules) coming from something alive. Your dog then takes off after a deer that has run by.
Your dog has found the most dense source of that particular scent, and it is alive.

mainegirl
11-27-2011, 06:56 PM
I am in need of advice on searching for a girl that has been missing for 25 years. A friend and I have been pretty much on our own in looking as the police do not believe my friend saw this girl the morning after she became missing.
Is it even possible to get a scent on a body that has been someplace for this long?
How do you go about locating someone that would be willing to take a chance on a long shot and go out to look with a certified dog?
I feel it could be a matter of safety to find this body - the offender is still young and able bodied enough to hurt others. We have reason to believe he is responsible for at least 2 murders and maybe more.
Please please please any advice would be helpful - we are simply 2 women looking to help a girl we failed to help 25 years ago. It would be great to make it up to her family and bring her home....

Oriah
11-28-2011, 04:18 AM
Hi Mainegirl and welcome to Websleuths, although I am sorry for the circumstances that have brought you here. :(

Without knowing more detail about the physical circumstances of the case, it's difficult to predict whether or not an HRD dog would be useful in locating 25 yr old remains. Would you be willing to provide more info about the location, and the circumstances of the disappearance?
That said- yes, there are scent dogs that can locate aged remains. In terms of locating one who is certified, there are several resources available to you. If you could provide general location info, I can give you some contact info.

Again- welcome to Websleuths!


I am in need of advice on searching for a girl that has been missing for 25 years. A friend and I have been pretty much on our own in looking as the police do not believe my friend saw this girl the morning after she became missing.
Is it even possible to get a scent on a body that has been someplace for this long?
How do you go about locating someone that would be willing to take a chance on a long shot and go out to look with a certified dog?
I feel it could be a matter of safety to find this body - the offender is still young and able bodied enough to hurt others. We have reason to believe he is responsible for at least 2 murders and maybe more.
Please please please any advice would be helpful - we are simply 2 women looking to help a girl we failed to help 25 years ago. It would be great to make it up to her family and bring her home....

Herding Cats
12-02-2011, 06:07 PM
How does one start the scent tracking/trailing? I am wondering because Gracie, my Newf, is getting to an age where we are in need of more challenging things to do, and I would love to explore the possibilities of cadaver/water recovery/rescue. I'm just not sure how to start, and I don't want to start down that road if she's not adept at it.

TIA, and I love this thread!

Best-
Herding Cats

sarx
12-02-2011, 07:58 PM
How does one start the scent tracking/trailing? I am wondering because Gracie, my Newf, is getting to an age where we are in need of more challenging things to do, and I would love to explore the possibilities of cadaver/water recovery/rescue. I'm just not sure how to start, and I don't want to start down that road if she's not adept at it.

TIA, and I love this thread!

Best-
Herding Cats
The best thing to do is find a group (which SoCal has several) that are NASAR/FEMA certified and go and talk to them. They can help evaluate your dog, see if they have potential and then also explain the time and resource commitment to you (it is RIDICULOUSLY time consuming so first start by thinking if you have 20-25 hours a week extra to spare for a solid 18 months to 2 years for training and then 15 plus for he life of the career). If it is all good, then you generally train within the group and apprentice under someone so that you learn from those who have been doing it for a good long time! Good luck!

Oriah
12-03-2011, 05:09 AM
The best thing to do is find a group (which SoCal has several) that are NASAR/FEMA certified and go and talk to them. They can help evaluate your dog, see if they have potential and then also explain the time and resource commitment to you (it is RIDICULOUSLY time consuming so first start by thinking if you have 20-25 hours a week extra to spare for a solid 18 months to 2 years for training and then 15 plus for he life of the career). If it is all good, then you generally train within the group and apprentice under someone so that you learn from those who have been doing it for a good long time! Good luck!

Herding Cats,
sarx has great advice. I just wanted to add a thought. If you find the time commitment impossible for SAR training, or the group you link up with determines that for whatever reason you or your dog might not be suited for extensive scent training- Newfies often tend to be great therapy dogs, and great 'lifeguards'. The training is much less times consuming, and for a dog that needs a little more stimulation- very rewarding for the dog.

Anyway- if you need links to SoCal NASAR/FEMA certified teams, I will be happy to provide. Good luck!

Herding Cats
12-03-2011, 01:26 PM
I would love links if you have them, Oriah! I know Newfs are not the best at scenting, but I also know they love the water, and I'm looking at doing some water scenting with her. And yes, lifeguarding is wonderful, and something that we will start doing once it warms up a bit. And yes again to Therapy...she already has been started towards that, and when I work with her and socialize her, she's so accepting of everyone and everything, and just lets people love on her, gives her belly to any and everyone, and thinks kids are about as good as it gets (a toddler crawled on her belly once, and laid there. Gracie laid there right back, just grinning...with a toddler on her belly. She was in heaven!).

Thanks for the advice and help, you two. I am definitely interested, and while the time would be somewhat difficult, it still may be doable. So if you could send me a link, that would simply rock.

Best-
Herding Cats

Tilmylastbreath
04-20-2012, 04:24 AM
Why do some dogs pick up things that other dog may miss? How do they train a dog to detect and find earthquake victims? Thats gotta be the hardest type of training for any dog.

Btw, thanks for all the great links. I've learned a lot.

sarx
04-20-2012, 11:35 AM
Why do some dogs pick up things that other dog may miss? How do they train a dog to detect and find earthquake victims? Thats gotta be the hardest type of training for any dog.

Btw, thanks for all the great links. I've learned a lot..

That is certainly the question we would all love to know the answer to, lol.
Training, handler ability, circumstances, good day, bad day, changing conditions, you name it, it all comes into play.

Scent it scent (ok, don't take that too literally), they're still looking for a live or deceased person, so the nose part is the same. The difference really becomes in the type of terrain (that being rubble in this case), the buried factor etc.

These 2 topics could have books written about them, so hope I answered the question generally speaking enough to get an idea anyways. Don't want to totally overwhelm.

Tilmylastbreath
04-20-2012, 06:50 PM
and i appreciate that... *HUGE grin* and i get it, lots of variables lol. Thank you. Can they hear movement underground? Is that one of the things they are trained in? and how do they train a dog to listen so well?

K9Snoop
05-30-2012, 09:35 AM
and i appreciate that... *HUGE grin* and i get it, lots of variables lol. Thank you. Can they hear movement underground? Is that one of the things they are trained in? and how do they train a dog to listen so well?

For those interested Shirley Hammond wrote a book on how disaster dogs are trained. It's a time consuming process where the same behavior is reinforced over and over again until its automatic. Yes, dogs can hear some movement underground but normally can't under these circumstances due to all the above ground noise and activity.

sarx
09-10-2012, 01:22 AM
Shirley Hammond is awesome!

Oriah
09-10-2012, 10:40 AM
and i appreciate that... *HUGE grin* and i get it, lots of variables lol. Thank you. Can they hear movement underground? Is that one of the things they are trained in? and how do they train a dog to listen so well?

Disaster K9's are trained to 'hear' through a variety of different senses- not just their ears. They do listen; but they also smell, they feel, they see- and their senses are much more acute than most of ours, by nature and design. Compare to a human who is blind- they often come to hear more acutely. Or a person who is deaf comes to see more acutely? Or a person who is both blind and deaf may come to communicate using a tactile sign language system because that is their most dominent 'sense.' Feeling.

Humans and K9's alike tend to gravitate toward whatever communication method comes easiest to them but dogs have, overall, much more diverse strengths when it comes to sight, sound, smell, and feel. Training a dog to work disasters is essentially focusing on all of those senses by first isolating them and then putting them all together so that the dog thinks "1 plus 2 plus 3 plus 4...Stay here and BARK THREE TIMES REALLY LOUD until my handler hears me" lol.
I hope that makes sense.

My very humble training opinions only. There are as many different kinds of training methods as there are handlers. :)

emiusacska
12-09-2012, 07:57 PM
Have a question what is the difference between K9 and Kadaver dogs that were used in the Baby Lisa case.

sarx
12-09-2012, 09:18 PM
Have a question what is the difference between K9 and Kadaver dogs that were used in the Baby Lisa case.

I'm not sure of the context, but often when the word "K9" is used, they are talking about police dogs or trailing dogs which are looking for the scent of someone alive. Cadaver or HRD dogs are specific for detecting all things post life.

emiusacska
12-10-2012, 12:55 PM
I'm not sure of the context, but often when the word "K9" is used, they are talking about police dogs or trailing dogs which are looking for the scent of someone alive. Cadaver or HRD dogs are specific for detecting all things post life.

thanks I truly appreciate the information.

Trackergd
08-02-2013, 07:31 AM
Great thread! I have worked with SAR dog teams many times over the years. In two cases the dog team and I worked side by side. If I lost the print tracks, the dog would pick up the trail again, when the dog appeared to be frustrated, I would start looking for a footprint. Very effective when working with ground scent dogs. Air scent dogs on occasion would get me looking in the right direction if there was no (or inaccurate PLS) and we would leapfrog each other.

On a few occasions I was the "subject" in SAR dog training in SE PA and NJ. I know a dog and handler are good when they can still find me, even if I spray my shoes with fox urine.

SAR Dogs and Handlers ROCK!

Trackergd
08-06-2013, 06:42 PM
Is there is a WS cadaver dog and handler in or near Chester County PA?

Oriah
08-08-2013, 09:06 AM
Is there is a WS cadaver dog and handler in or near Chester County PA?

I don't know about WS's, but if you are looking for a good HRD dog in PA, I know there's an awesome IPWDA/OPOTA certified team in Lawrence Co.

Trackergd
08-09-2013, 10:41 AM
I don't know about WS's, but if you are looking for a good HRD dog in PA, I know there's an awesome IPWDA/OPOTA certified team in Lawrence Co.

Thanks Oriah! I will follow up. I need to check out a few leads and locations, then get permission from the landowners to bring in a small team.

Oriah
08-10-2013, 11:57 AM
Thanks Oriah! I will follow up. I need to check out a few leads and locations, then get permission from the landowners to bring in a small team.

No problem! Not sure about how close to the location you're seeking K9 resources for, but there's also John Valvardi and crew (I believe out of Chester Co?) - and they travel I think.

popsicle
09-19-2013, 10:37 PM
How long is the working life, typically for these dogs? Do you retire them and keep them in your family?

sarx
09-20-2013, 02:07 PM
How long is the working life, typically for these dogs? Do you retire them and keep them in your family?

Lots of variables here, but somewhere in the 5 to 7 years range. Depends on how early the dog starts its training, what type of SAR work they are doing (some is much harder on their body than others), what medical issues they may develop as they get older (a lot of working dogs are breeds that are prone to joint issues).

Yes, most SAR dogs are privately owned dogs, so they grow up, live and stay with their families for life.

Tulessa
09-26-2013, 09:20 PM
In order to help answer questions and keep MP threads clean I'm going to start a thread here that everyone can ask there K9 questions and hopefully we will have answers for you! Please keep this to only K9 SAR questions. If it looks like we need a SAR Q&A as well, let me know and I can start one of those.

If you are professional K9 SAR and are not verified, please do so, the more the merrier!

sarx, Thank you for starting this thread. Maybe this is not the place, I'm not sure. I have a male German Shepherd that can detect seizures and migraines. Is this common in a dog? He's right so far, 100% of the time, and is going on 10 years old.

sarx
10-03-2013, 11:44 AM
sarx, Thank you for starting this thread. Maybe this is not the place, I'm not sure. I have a male German Shepherd that can detect seizures and migraines. Is this common in a dog? He's right so far, 100% of the time, and is going on 10 years old.

I wouldn't say it is necessarily common, but it's not uncommon either. They train dogs for just that, as well as diabetes, cancer detection, you name it. Sounds like you've got a naturally trained one, that's awesome (well, not the seizures and migraines part, but you know what I mean)/

KateB
02-07-2014, 09:05 PM
It would appear to be stronger to a dog not trained specifically in specific scent discrimination. To a dog that has been trained properly for a specific scent discrimination; the dog would alert or follow the most recent trail.
So for example- lets say you or I walk to the corner coffee shop every morning. Our feet fall along the same path, but probably not in the exact same spots.

A dog trained for this type of tracking will follow all of those steps, and blend them into one path. That's very useful when there's been a very small window of time that has elapsed, and the direction of travel is known.

A dog that is properly trained for specific trailing however, should follow the most recent path taken by the particle of scent it was scented on. So sometimes you'll see a dog following a path do circles, or stopping and turning left or right, then continuing on. Much like we humans do when walking.

So, say one day you're walking to the coffee shop and you hit a green light. You stop to cross when it's red. You deposit more scent while stopped at the light.
The next day, you're a minute later and you catch the light. So your scent particle is not as heavily deposited at the crossing, but instead continues through. A trailing dog should follow the most recent scent, despite the heavier scent deposit from the day earlier when we were stuck at the light.

Make sense?

Makes a lot of sense. I'm wondering about the time lapse for detecting freshness. If it is in minutes, and not a day as in your example, is it indistinguishable then?
Example: A person on a walk turns around and walks the same exact path back, all within the same hour. Is that detectable or can it appear as a lost scent at the point of the u-turn. TIA.

HesterMofet
02-09-2014, 10:04 AM
Can you only train certain kinds of dogs for SAR? I have a miniature dachshund, but I've never seen one used for SAR. He's a year old. Would that be too old to start and should I start him with general scent training?

sarx
02-09-2014, 03:00 PM
Can you only train certain kinds of dogs for SAR? I have a miniature dachshund, but I've never seen one used for SAR. He's a year old. Would that be too old to start and should I start him with general scent training?

Lots of breeds and mixes can be used, it's all a matter of their drive and their nose. The caveat to that is that some body types just don't hold up well to the distances (in miles), the temperatures (heat and cold) and other factors like that.

HesterMofet
02-10-2014, 03:58 PM
Thanks for the answer sarx. I think I will see if he has any aptitude for nose work.

JulesInVA
02-15-2014, 09:04 AM
What breeds of dogs are best suited for SAR? Are some breeds better than others at specific tasks?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

sillybilly
02-16-2014, 03:31 PM
Hopefully Oriah or sarx or any/all of you great K9 handlers will be gracious as usual and have enough time to answer a question for us wrt the Jeffrey Boucher case in Whitby, ON. I know you folks are always swamped, so will try to summarize, and hopefully it will be enough for you to formulate a general response.

JB went for an approx. 2 hour run around 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm, Sunday, January 12 2014, then is believed to have left for another run the next morning, January 13 2014 approx. 6:00 am. (possibly/likely a different route). Search dogs were brought in not later than Wednesday, January 15 2014 (possibly earlier).

Conditions:
Sunday, Temps 2.3C to 3.0C, precip. 0, snow accumulation 3cm
Monday, Temps 2.3C to 6.0C, precip .6 cm, snow accumulation 2cm

At this time, I don’t know whether there was sunshine or for how long during the daytime on the Monday.

Historical weather data for Whitby, ON (Jeffrey's runs were the night of Jan 12 2014 and the morning of Jan 13 2014):

http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climateData/dailydata_e.html?StationID=4996&Month=1&Day=1&Year=2014&timeframe=2

Question: Given the relatively short timeframe between runs, how/could the search dogs discriminate between the 2 tracks in order to track on the more recent one?

Many thanks for any help you can give us !!!

sb

sarx
02-21-2014, 11:39 PM
So, we are looking at approx. 10 hours apart... that is quite a bit if time really. It is not uncommon however for dogs that haven't trained in it to have issues whrn dealing with leaving from a residence of the person because if the sheer volume of overlayed trails.

sillybilly
02-24-2014, 05:37 AM
Thank you sarx. Appreciate your input. :)

Trackergd
03-11-2014, 02:37 PM
SARX,

Can you post a sticky thread listing the details of the different types of SAR dogs?

This subject seems to come up in almost every case I get involved in. While I pretty much know the answers, I feel feel it appropriate to be posted by you folks involved in K9 SAR.

Rather than type it all out, you might want to copy and paste articles like this:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/mammals/sar-dog2.htm

And modify as needed. Please add some information on how temperature, auto exhaust and other types of contamination disrupt or degrade scent trails.

It would be much easier to direct folks to the sticky it rather than explain it "ad nauseum" in each and every search thread.

Thanks again!

Bravo
04-03-2014, 08:08 AM
Question: What items/s are best as far as dogs picking up a scent? IIRC from another case it was stated "head" items were best (hat, pillow case etc) and shoes were least. Many thanks in advance :seeya: