Border Collies have great speed and agility. They are eager and willing to learn and have a sense of smell far stronger than a human's. They are also one of the most intelligent breeds of dog, which makes them perfect for training to be a search and rescue dog.
When there are reports of a missing person, dogs are a great starting point for the search and rescue teams. They will be able to pick up on a scent much sooner than a human can pick up tracks of them. Well trained dogs and their handlers set off on foot usually where the missing person was last seen and will try to trace a trail of scent to find them. They will be able to cover a wide variety of terrains and large areas of ground quickly and efficiently.
Training a Border Collie to search and rescue is much easier than training other breeds of dog, however, this doesn’t mean it will be easy. You should start training your dog to search and rescue at around 6 months as long as you have built a strong foundation of obedience training in him. You can start training younger than this, however, it may take you longer to see consistent results as his attention span may be a little short.
At a basic level, search and rescue will start off as a game to a dog and you will need to have instilled a play instinct in yours. You will also need to find an effective incentive for him to start to search for his toys and more importantly, people. Master this training and you will be well on your way to having a professional search and rescue border collie!
I am going to purchase s border collie puppy. I have been up and visited the puppies and Thursday I am going up to make my choice. Do you have any advice on the sex of the dog? Male versus female, or is their any preference for S&R. Bev. (916) 316-1737
Hello Beverly, That depends mostly on whether or not you plan to spay or neuter. If you plan to spray or neuter, then both sexes in Border Collies make equally good candidates for Search and Rescue work, and it will simply come down to the individual temperament and train-ability of the specific puppy. If you plan to keep the puppy intact, then a male will have a tendency to wander more, which can cause issues for search and rescue work, but does not make it impossible by any means with thorough training. A female will tend to be more moody, especially while in heat, and will be unusable as a search and rescue dog surrounding her heat cycle, which can last for three weeks two times per year. She will probably only bleed for one week but she can attract males and be fertile for as long as three weeks. Both males and females can make equally wonderful search and rescue dogs. Neither is usually a better choice than the other in that particular breed. I suggest choosing based on the individual puppy's temperament and train-ability. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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