Themust be focused on the task at hand – to find the scent no matter where it leads or how much it is intermingled with other odors. The Bloodhound is celebrated for his prowess as a search dog and has been used in the southern US by police forces to track criminals for decades. Newfoundlands are well-known avalanche rescue . Other favorite breeds for general search and rescue work are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Golden Retrievers, but any medium-to large breed or mix can serve just as well if they enjoy tracking and can concentrate on following the scent. Kentucky Search Dog Association, part of the state emergency services department, has Weimaraners, Smooth Collies, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks among its teams along with GSDs and retrievers. Southwestern Ohio Search and Rescue has a Giant Schnauzer, an Australian Shepherd, and a couple of mixed breeds, and a group in Virginia has several Border Collies and Australian Shepherds along with more common breeds used in search work. In the end the breed isn't critical but rather the attitude is. Whatever the breed, search must be evaluated before they can join a group. Dogs with a strong play drive are preferred; that like games of fetch and will work for rewards. In training, are rewarded with play and when they locate an acting victim; in an actual search, the victim often cannot respond when found, so handlers must be quick to provide the praise, often in a low-key manner after removing the dog from the vicinity of the find.
Dogs are trained to follow the scent in different terrain and weather conditions and to identify cadaver scent in bodies of water. Their skills are constantly being sharpened through regular training sessions and by handlers with daily training at home.