Item: Classification of police service dogs in avalanche search and rescue
Title: Classification of police service dogs in avalanche search and rescue
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1980 International Snow Science Workshop, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Authors: Sgt. D.G. Wiebe, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Innisfail, Alberta
Abstract: The R.C.M. Police have been using dogs for police work since 1935. The Avalanche Search & Rescue program was not official until the training of Park Warden Dog Master Alf Burstrom, of Jasper National Park, and his dog "Ginger" in 1970. Police service dogs chosen for avalanche search training have all previously received training in obedience, tracking, searching, and criminal apprehension, and the dog masters have had a minimum of one year field experience in the handling of their dogs. Because the dog is accomplished in searching, the specialized training required for avalanche work is minimal. The dog master, however, must learn many new techniques including how to use the dog effectively when searching an avalanche, how to reach an avalanche site without mechanical conveyance, and how to recognize potential avalanche hazard and safely travel through hazardous areas. Using the Swiss Alpine Club Regulations as a guide, Cpl. B.D. Johson of the R.C.M.P. dog training kennels at Innisfail, Park Warden Alf Burstrom of Jasper National Park, and Alpine Specialist Willi Pfisterer of Parks Canada have compiled standards for Canadian dog/master teams (Pfisterer). Teams may be qualified at one of three levels of accomplishment. "C" teams have received basic training only; "B" teams are considered intermediate teams; and "A" teams are fully trained and experienced.
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Keywords: rescue dogs, safety, hazard
Digital Abstract Not Available