If you have the right dog and some experience in dog training then it usually takes a person 18-24 months to train / certify their first dog.
My team uses FEMA guidelines. It's straightforward but a lot involved. You can train most of the OB, agility, direction and control parts on your own. But the scent and search portions you definitely need help. If you have experience with search dogs then one could do it on their own with a few willing helpers and several training locations. If you're new at everything then you really need an experienced person working with you on scene to bring out the best in your dog and train you in reading them.
Thanks for you clear response. I have trained a boxer to be a companion dog in the mountains, but the requirements for that are wayy lower.
I have access to :
1) A really good dog trainer (about 2000 km away from me!), who has trained SAR dogs, and currently works with Belgian Malinoises (not sure how to pluralise that!). I have a lot of respect for him, but I get the feeling I have a lot more outdoor and wilderness experience.
2) Trainers who are not so good, not far from me, with zero SAR experience.
3) Police/army dog squads - my mountaineering background gives me access to these guys, but I dont like how Indian handlers treat their dogs.
With the right knowledge, I could use these resources a lot more effectively. I think that's what i'm looking for, the knowledge that comes with experience.
If you don't like how the dogs are treated, I'd keep my distance.
Your first step should be learning a motivational, relationship based training system. Lots of good info, video clips and online training videos from people like Michael Ellis here. This is the foundation for every successful working and sport dog.
website is an unofficial site that is kind of an information hub for urban/FEMA disaster dogs and handlers. Lots of info and links can be found there.
Penn Vet Working dog center also has a website with some great information, studies, research and training videos. Can't do multiple links with my phone but an internet search should bring them up right away.
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