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Leerburg Articles Urban Search & Rescue Response System

Urban Search & Rescue Response System

Urban Search & Rescue Response System

Copyright 1998


The evaluation will be conducted by three evaluators.

To pass the exercise, the dog must attain a numerical score of three (3) or more on all required skills.

In the event that one of the three evaluators gives a failing score on a required skill, the three evaluators must reach consensus.

In addition to the practical evaluation, the handler must obtain a score of 70% or more on a written test.

No handler will be considered operational until they have passed the written test.

Scoring will be recorded on the Canine Performance Criteria & Score Sheet using the developed evaluator guidelines.

At the conclusion of the evaluations, the numerical scores and comments will be reviewed with the respective Canine Search Specialist.

Copies of the completed evaluations will be forwarded to the respective task force and FEMA Headquarters.

It is intended that the respective Search Team Managers will be involved in the process.

Completed evaluations forwarded to the task force should be directed to the Search Team Managers for review.

The Managers should develop a redemption plan to address any cited shortfalls as soon as possible.


Once a canine team has passed the Type II - Basic evaluation, they are eligible to take the Type I - Advanced evaluation whenever they feel ready.

Within two years, they must either take the Type I evaluation or be recertified at the Type II level.

After a canine team has passed the Type I evaluation, the team will be required to be recertified after two years of the original Type I certification.

If the team fails the Type I recertification, the team will revert back to the Type II level of certification. They can then retake the Type I evaluation within one year.

If the team again fails the second recertification, the team must start over by taking the Type II - Basic evaluation and progressing to Type I - Advanced, again.




A Component of the Federal Response Plan

Under Emergency Support Function 9




Search Canine Readiness Evaluation Process



No training aids (balls, food, toys, etc.).
No collars in agility or rubble pile.
No prong, choke or electronic collars.
No food in testing area.
No practice on any element before the test.
Handler must maintain continual control of the canine.
Handler is responsible for care and safety of the canine at all times.
Safety gear and procedures should be addressed continually.
Aggression will not be tolerated at any time during the test.


Element 1 - Obedience

Aggression testing:

Handler ties dog and leaves unattended (handler remains out of sight).

After a minimum of one (1) minute, stranger/evaluator returns the dog to handler.

A dog shall be capable of completing a Figure 8 on loose lead, around two handlers with their dogs ("post team") on lead, sitting at their side and spaced eight feet apart. The testing teams shall complete the pattern, passing within two feet of each of the "post" teams.

Handler Information:

The team must perform the exercises off leash with no training aids.

The team must perform the following commands while heeling through a group of not less than five (5) milling people.

Right turn - Left turn
About turn - Halt
Change of pace - normal to slow, back to normal

Drop on recall

The dog shall be placed on stay 25 yards from the starting line. The handler shall drop the dog as directed by the evaluator. The handler will drop the dog within the designated area (15 foot length). When the evaluator requests it, the handler will call the dog to him/her.

Long down/wait for 5 minutes

The dog may be placed next to the handler pack and at least 5 feet away from any other dog. Upon direction from the evaluator, the handler shall give the dog the Wait command and the handler should proceed to the designated area out of the dog's sight. The dog must be under the supervision of a monitor. The dog may sit, stand or shift position, but shall not move more than the body length in any direction from where the dog was placed. Timing starts when the evaluator states "leave the dog." The evaluator will direct the handler when to return to the dog.

To pass the exercise, the dog must score a "3" or more on the each of the required skills. If only one of the three evaluators gives a failing score on the required skills, the three evaluators must reach a consensus.

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