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Search and Rescue K-9 Training Program


K-9 Water Cadaver Search Course


K-9 Water Cadaver Search Course

K-9 Water Cadaver Search Course

Search and Rescue K-9 Training Program

The K-9 Search and Rescue program consists of structured classes of varying levels and disciplines from basic foundation training to advanced skills. Our facility also offers workshops, individual instruction and opportunities for search organizations to utilize training areas at the center. Organizations or individuals that would like to reserve the facility need to complete a facility use request form and return it to the center. It is recommended that those individuals that assist in training dogs also participate in these courses even if they do not have a dog. Departments or agencies interested in how dogs work are also encouraged to participate in courses as observers.

Canine vaccination records must be provided on all canines receiving training from the Search and Rescue Training Center.

Due to the individualized nature of instruction, courses must be restricted to one dog per handler.

Training Opportunities

Training a search dog, in any of the K-9 SAR disciplines, requires a huge commitment of time, energy and money. It takes a minimum of two years to train a search dog to field readiness. This is usually accomplished by someone with previous experience and a puppy or young dog well-suited for K-9 SAR work. For the average person bringing their pet dog or young puppy, it will take longer, and many may never become operational search dogs.

Search dog training also involves the handler getting training as well. We suggest you consider acquiring additional skills outside of K-9 training because you may be called upon to do more than just locate a missing person. The best K-9 handlers are trained in ground search and K-9 skills. While this may seem overwhelming, the reality is that being a K-9 handler is a long-term commitment where you must continue to acquire skills like CPR, ground search training, navigation, recordkeeping, dog behavior and training, and more. For the K-9, it must be trained daily to acquire experience and perform desired behaviors in the broadest selection of environments.

IDHS offers K-9 classes designed to help handlers train their dogs and understand how to problem-solve training issues. We also offer open K-9 training most Fridays, but interested individuals must notify the Search and Rescue Training Program manager by Thursdays to make sure the training is still going on.

For training opportunities, please email training@dhs.in.gov.