Finding the Lost with our K9 Partners
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ROCKY MOUNTAIN SEARCH DOGS
Rocky Mountain Search Dogs (RMSD), also known as Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs (RMSD), is an all volunteer, non-profit, professional canine search and rescue organization established in 1980. RMSD is the oldest search dog organization based in the state of Utah. RMSD is regularly called out across the Western United States. RMSD is dedicated to assisting law enforcement and other governmental agencies in the location of lost and missing persons.
RMSD provides assistance in the following situations: wilderness searches, tracking/trailing, water recovery, avalanche searches, urban searches, human remains detection/cadaver searches, and disaster searches. RMSD is on-call and available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. RMSD can only be called out for search and rescue assistance by law enforcement agencies. RMSD also provides demos and education to the community free of charge.
RMSD teams consist of a handler and his or her dog. Team members donate their time and resources training to meet rigid standards including: scent theory, search theory, canine obedience, canine agility, GPS/navigation skills, mountaineering skills, first aid skills, and physical fitness. Teams maintain a constant state of readiness, able to respond at any time, day or night, to an emergency.
Dog follows human scent floating in the air. A trained search dog can smell one particle of scent per ten quadrillion particles of air. Handler and canine search a pattern to cover the given search area until the dog detects scent. The dog then narrows down the location and shows the handler where the missing person is. Can be scent discriminant or find any person within an area.
Tracking (Footstep tracking): Dog follows the human scent from foot print to foot print and ground disturbance.
Trailing: Dog follows the highest concentration of human scent deposited in the environment.
HUMAN REMAINS DETECTION (HRD)
HRD/Cadaver dogs are trained to find odor of decomposing human remains, and do not indicate on animal remains. Canines are trained to give a non destructive indication when remains are found and can indicate on various size of sources from full bodies to pieces of tissue, bones or blood.
Search dogs locate bodies of drowning victims, searching from a boat or from the bank. The dogs pick up scent exiting the water's surface which provides a more specific area for divers to search.
Avalanche dogs close to the occurrence can increase the odds of finding a live victim if they can be deployed immediately. Regardless of the passage of time, body recovery is always possible.
Meet Our Teams
BECOME A ROCKY MOUNTAIN SEARCH DOGS MEMBER
Have you ever wanted to become a K9 search and rescue handler? Do you love the outdoors and helping people? Rocky Mountain Search Dogs may be the team for you. We have a three-step process for individuals and their dogs to become a K9 search and rescue team.
Attends workouts without their K9 partner
This step allows a potential new handler to get an idea of how the team runs and make a determination if they are a good fit for Search and Rescue and Rocky Mountain Search Dogs. During the Pre Candidate phase, the individual attends four workout days without their K9 partner and two business meetings. While official workouts have to be attended without the K9 the individual is encouraged to train with members in smaller groups so that the K9 is exposed to search work. This phase usually lasts 2 months. At the end of this phase the handler can apply to become a candidate.
K9 and handler are in training. Handler deployable as support.
During the candidate phase the individual and their K9 partner train under the guidance of experienced mentors. This phase lasts from 6 months to a year depending when the individual is ready to test for their first specialty. Once the candidate passes their test they apply for membership and are voted onto the team as a member.
K9 and handler are certified and deployable
Members are certified K9 teams who can be deployed to assist in search and rescue efforts. Our team members maintain their skills and training with their dogs and help new members and candidates progress with their development. Our members are always learning and usually are certified in multiple specialties.
Even though becoming a K9 search and rescue team is rewarding and a ton of fun, it is also a huge financial, emotional, and physical commitment that requires a lot of free time. We have set up our membership process to allow interested individuals a chance to make sure it is the right path for them and their dog before committing to the training. Team members and candidates pay their own way through training and searches so that we can provide free services to the community. This means most gear, gas and lodging are all at handler expense. Please read the candidate package documents located in the document library to get an idea of some of the requirements.