A properly trained dog team can do all these things and more - they love their jobs!
Teams are deployed at the request of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. If these services are needed, call the Sheriff's Department or the local police department.
LASD responds throughout LA County from the desert to Catalina Island. We're also called to support when nearby communities need help.
The members of the LA Search Dogs search throughout the 4,000+ square miles of Los Angeles County. They have been requested by all the LA Sheriff's Stations, and work together with the other 8 Search and Rescue Teams within the Department. Since trained search dogs are not very common, LASD frequently receives calls from other Agencies for assistance.
With a sense of smell far more powerful than man’s and an ability to probe nooks and crannies that humans cannot penetrate, dog teams can locate missing persons more efficiently and effectively than humans alone.
LA Search Dogs utilizes dogs that have the right aptitude and drive or focus. Some of the breeds commonly used in SAR are German Shepherds, Malinois, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Hounds, Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. Mixed breeds are also used.
They search because they love to hunt - it's a great game to them. There is a big reward of praise and joy when they find a missing person.
Primarily using their sense of smell, dogs will utilize all of their senses to find the missing person. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, estimated to be between 100 to 100 thousand times better than humans.
Human scent is generated from the bacterial decay of a mixture of dead skin cells, skin oils, and perspiration. Our bodies are constantly emitting scent, and giving it off in greater amounts during physical exertion. We each have a unique scent that a trained dog can easily identify from other humans.
Each handler trains their own dog. There are many steps and certifications though the course of training and it takes approximately 1½ to 3 years to get a dog fully trained and certified.
No. Finding people is the teams only priority. While we know how devastating a missing pet can be, our dogs are trained only to find humans.
Team Members come from all backgrounds and a variety of professions.
There are basically two main types of certifications for Search Dogs: Area and Trailing. There are also several Specialty certifications. (Go to the "about" tab for more information.)