Stichting Reddingshond NL
(Search and Rescue dog group the Netherlands)
Welcome to our website
Welcome to the website of the Search and Rescue dog group the Netherlands. Often we are confronted by the media with a wide range of humanitarian disasters. For instance there can be earthquakes, explosions, avalanches and landslides. Unfortunately these claim victims. In these instances, as well as in other missing person cases, a well-trained search and rescue dog can be of great value in aiding the retrieval of both alive and deceased victims, both on land as in the water. Stichting Reddingshond Nederland provides the training for these kind of dogs and their handlers. Every team in our group must learn all disciplines of search and rescue work, for we believe you only then can speak of a well-trained SAR-dog which can be deployed at disaster areas. The mission-ready teams of our group are 24 hours a day on call in case of an emergency, and can be deployed throughout the Netherlands as well as in the rest of the world.
Stichting Reddingshond NL is since the 6th of January 2002, a member of the International Rescue dog Organisation (www.iro-dogs.org).
Training a SAR-dog team
To get a successful SAR-dog team both the dog and his handler need training. The handler needs, besides the necessary skills to work in close cooperation with his or her dog, to learn how to use aids such as GPS and radio-telephone, he needs to learn rope-climbing with the dog in a separate harness before him, and he has to have knowledge of the internationally used signs at disaster areas (INSARAG-guidelines). A SAR-dog in the very first place needs to learn basic and advanced obedience, he has to get used to all kinds of different circumstances, he has to develop a great dexterity and agility and above all he has to learn to work on his own, making his own decisions, and having enough confidence in himself to overcome difficult situations on his own while at the same time always being obedient to his handler. The goal in the end is to get a dog to search a wide area (which can be rubble, a building, forest ground, grassland, snowy plains, lake sides and everything in between) swiftly and accurately, while its handler remains on the sideline giving directions. We can for example send the dog inside a 4 story building, while remaining outside ourselves, and be confident that the dog will search all floors and rooms on its own, only to alert its handler when he has found a victim. This is the great advantage of using a SAR-dog, he can work much faster then any machine or human on its own can, and is also able to reach difficult or for humans dangerous places.
At the Search and Rescue dog group Stichting Reddingshond NL, we begin training a dog preferably when he is still a puppy. Older dogs can also start the training, but we do not accept dog older than 36 months old. The reason for this is that training a dog to become a mission-ready SAR-dog takes approximately 3 years, and we want the dog to have as many working years after completing his training as possible. We start the training with 2 beginner-courses of 15 lessons, the A and B course. Here the dogs learn basic obedience and agility and we also start teaching the dogs the bark-alert, which is used when he locates a victim. Both courses are completed after an exam. When a team passes their B-exam, they can be asked to become an official member of our group. The purpose of these courses is assessing whether or not the dog and his handler are suitable to begin the intensive training to become a mission-ready SAR-dog team.
After completing these courses, the team will begin training in all of the disciplines a SAR-dog needs to be trained in; Area search, Rubble Search, Avalanche Search and Water Search. Also there is an opportunity to train Tracking as well. When the team is ready for it, they will first have to pass their international A and B exams on all disciplines. These exams are, other then the A and B exams from our beginner courses, internationally acknowledged. They are judged by international judges appointed by the International Rescue dog Association (IRO), and are held in countries all over Europe. When you pass the B-exams, you will be ready to participate in missions in the Netherlands.
After this, you can take it even further by applying for an international mission-ready certificate by completing the annually held IRO Mission-Readiness Test. This test consists of an 48-hours simulation of a disaster situation, during which you and your dog will have to be fully self-supporting and are to be tested on a number of different skills, while working day and night at simulated disaster areas. At the end of this very demanding test you will get your results from a group of internationally assigned judges. If you pass the test you will become a member of the international mission ready SAR-dog team, and can be deployed by the IRO worldwide. At this moment this prestiges team consists of 44 teams from different countries, one of which is a member of our group!
Which dogs and handlers are suitable for this work?
We do not require a specific breed of dog, although very small types of dogs may have difficulty with certain disciplines. If you are not sure if your dog would be suitable, please don´t hesitate to ask us. We do require the dog to have a stable character, and he must be social to both other animals and men. As mentioned above we do not start with dogs older than 36 months old, with the exception of dogs who have already had SAR-dog or other relevant training. In this case please contact us for more information. Training and working with a SAR-dog is very fulfilling, but getting your dog mission ready will not come easy to you. Please keep in mind that we train the dogs both on the Wednesday-evening and on Saturday from 9 o´clock till about 5, and besides this daily training at home is required. This extensive training time is needed to get and keep the high standard we require of our teams. Ask yourself honestly if you are able to spend this much time, active participation is necessary to be able to work together as a team. We stress the fact that our goal is to train mission-ready SAR-dog teams by the high standard the International Rescue dog Organisation has set, not to train dogs for sportive purposes only.
All members of our group are volunteers, and we depend on your generosity for financing our expanses such as fuel for our boat and cars, equipment, clothing and training material. If you wish to make a donation to aid our work, we are very thankful for this.
Please make your donation to:
Stichting Reddingshond NL
9734 BH Groningen
We keep our benefactors well informed on the spending of their donations and the progress of our members by sending them an information-bulletin regularly.
9734 BH Groningen
We are also directly to be reached at +31625535529