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Additional Information

Q:How are SEADOG members contacted for a search?   

A: State Troopers notify the team that an actual search and rescue mission is, or may be underway, the team manager contacts team members by phone. Candidates are encouraged to serve as ground searchers, after they complete first aid, survival and map/compass training.  

Q:What kind of dogs can be a SEADOG?   

A: Any “working dog” breed can be trained to do search work. A properly trained and experienced search dog is expected to have the stamina and ability to search alongside other search resources for an entire working period. The dog must be non-aggressive, intelligent, sociable and controllable in situations involving crowds, noise, Alaskan wildlife, other dogs and distractions. The dog must have a coat suitable for Southeast Alaska climate, and be of a size large enough to easily move over the terrain, but small enough to fit on chairlifts with handlers and in helicopters. Certification may take 2 years; therefore a dog should be under 3 years of age at the onset of training.   Dog breeds successfully trained with SEADOGS have included Golden Retrievers, German Shepards, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepards and mixed breeds. Most dogs on the team are spayed or neutered, although this is not a requirement.  SEADOGS feels that motivation is the single most critical quality a dog must possess. A motivated dog will do almost anything for their reward. Most of the dogs that have become certified have a very strong retrieve instinct. Other handlers have successfully used tug-a-war as a reward for good performance. Food is discouraged as a primary method of reward.  SEADOGS requires one handler for every dog-in-training. One handler cannot train two dogs, but with the approval of a majority of the team, two handlers can certify with one dog.  


Q: Can I attend a workout?   

A: Visitors are encouraged to attend workouts.  Visiting handlers and dogs, certified with other search teams, are invited to join SEADOGS in all training and searches, if accompanied by a handler on the SEADOGS call-out list. Call 321-8545 to arrange attendence to a workout - workout locations change weekly.  

Q:What are the requirements for SEADOG candidates?   

Candidate Requirements: 

1.Keep training Log 

2. Attend 75% of all workouts 

3. Navigation, compass and GPS skills 

4. Advanced First Aid (WFR, ETT, or higher) and CPR  

5. Handler must be 18 years or older

If a person is interested in joining   SEADOGS, that person will undergo a three-month probation period with the team prior to acceptance as a candidate. During this time, the new team will be observed for workout attendance, logbook entries, attitude, and general performance. The new handler will also get a chance to see what is expected of a SEADOGS handler and the level of commitment needed. At the end of this three-month evaluation, the certified handlers will vote on whether to accept the new handler as a candidate. 

A SEADOGS candidate must be 18 years old or older and in good physical shape to negotiate typical Southeast Alaska terrain for extended time periods, day and night. They should have strong outdoor skills, and be knowledgeable in map and compass  survival skills and first aid. 

Handlers are expected to maintain an appropriate level of first-aid/emergency medical training.  They should know how to independently survive emergency and unplanned situations outdoors to effectively assist an injured victim in the wilderness for an extended period of time, and how to predict how other people might behave in the same situation. 

A candidate must also have a considerable amount of time available to train. A beginning dog or puppy should be worked several (at least 3) times a week. A candidate must show initiative in setting up his own training.   A candidate must attend (75%)of all workouts and get exposure to experienced handlers, and evaluators. 

Candidates (and certified handlers) must also keep a logbook of dog problems (this can also serve as documentation for tax purposes and in cases of litigation). Candidates may not represent SEADOGS at community events unless accompanied by a current certified handler (or with specific permission from the team). Activities that involve public relations, the media or different agencies must be conducted by members on the call-out list.   Any demonstrations must be supervised by a current certified handler. Demonstrations can be difficult and confusing even for certified dogs, and negative results for both the handler and the team can result from a demonstration gone badly.  

Q: What is Required for Certification?  

A: To be certified, a candidate must demonstrate an understanding of basic K-9 search and rescue skills, strategy and protocols. The handler must have certifications in advanced first aid (minimum), and CPR and the handler and dog must pass the SEADOGS obedience and search test before being placed on the callout list.  

Q: What are the Team Members responsibilities?   


1. Upon certification the team is placed on the call-out list, and must be available for call-out 24 hours/day. They will be assigned a cellular telephone and are required to carry it. The SEADOGS team manager should be notified when the handler becomes unavailable, (vacations, business, etc.)  

2. Upon certification, each handler assumes responsibility for maintaining and improving their own skills, their equipment, as well as training and evaluating others.  

3.Upon certification, a handler becomes a voting member of SEADOGS, and shall remain so as long as the handler remains on the call-out list.  

Q: What do Team Members recieve as Privileges?  


1. Upon certification, each handler is issued a radio, cellular telephone, and other search equipment. All equipment must be returned upon leaving SEADOGS. 2. As funds are available, members are sponsored to national seminar, schools, and workshops on a rotating basis. Upon a majority vote, members may attend at more frequent intervals. 

3. As funds are available, SEADOGS (or other organizations) may replace equipment damaged or lost on a search and may pay veterinary bills if an operational dog is injured on a search. Such decisions shall be made by a majority vote of team members. 

4. A certified handler may travel with dog in the passenger compartment of the airplane as long as the 

1) specific airline company recognizes and extends this privilege, and 

2) the team is flying on either a search or training mission.  




Aggressive (Dog) Behavior

Lunging, Growling, aggressing or attempting to bite people or animals.

Dog Team

One dog and up to two handlers

Air Scent Dog

A search dog trained to detect airborne human scent

Area Search

Search for an individual in a specific geographic area. The area could be urban, suburban, rural or wildreness.

Article/Evidence Search

Search for any object or article that may contain human scent, which may be above or below the ground.

Cadaver Search

Search for human remains that are on the surface or buried  Disaster/Collapsed Structure search – Search for humans trapped by natural or human-created disasters (such as earthquakes, structure collapses or debris piles caused by fire or wind).



The person who controls and directs the dog during a search.

Recall and Refind

The dog immediately returning to the handler after locating the subject or article, and leading the handler directly back to the subject or article.


Search and Rescue

Scent Discriminating Dog

A search dog trained to locate the scent of a specific individual after the dog has been allowed to smell an article or object that has been in contact with that individual.

Tracking Dog

A search dog trained to follow the ground scent track of a person who has passed through the area on foot.

Trailing Dog

A search dog trained to follow the scent trail of a specific individual. The trailing dog is scent discriminating.