Indiana Search and Response Dogs Go Through Training Exercises

Published 03/24 2014 02:18PM

Updated 03/24 2014 02:32PM

Here in Northeast Indiana, authorities count on search and rescue dogs year round.  A dozen of dogs from the Indiana Search and Response Team went through training exercises in Fort Wayne. 

WFFT's Charnae Davenport gives us an inside look at all the work that goes behind preparing the dogs for their next assignment. 

They're quick, smart, and also loveable.  Indiana Search and Response dogs are trained to perform rescue tasks in ways their human counterparts are not able.

"They are able to use their nose so quickly.  They are able to help us detect and locate people much faster than if humans do it."

Jan Harkner-Abbs is the Training Director for the Indiana Search and Response Team.  Her job is to ensure the dogs are in top shape to meet their certifications from the National and International Police Work Dog Association.  They're trained to respond to anything from a missing child to a natural disaster.

"They're able to be very efficient in their detection work for humans."

This Fort Wayne training site off Dwenger Avenue is one of several throughout the state where the dogs can complete their 16 hours of monthly training.  It has courses to test agility, obedience, tracking, and most importantly scent.

"The dogs are trained to follow a unique human scent for example in this rubble if a building collapsed, or a park, or 40 feet underwater."

A valuable asset to their success is the relationship with their owner.

"These dogs are a partner, they're not your normal family pet."

Karen Karrer has multiple trained rescue dogs.  She says it's important to not mistake their behavior for aggression.

"They're very sociable.  They're not aggressive at all towards humans.  They love people.  That's one of the reasons they look for people."

This team responds to help all over the state.  It's work that wouldn't be complete without their animal partner.

"Relying on a human's probability detection versus a dogs, the dogs far exceeds us."

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