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Search Dog Training Library

These are a few of the books currently on my shelves. Some day I'll do reviews for those that are SAR-related. For now, I'll list them in the order that I would recommend to others. No book substitutes for working with an experienced trainer!. By working with an established canine SAR group and drawing on the experience of seasoned handlers within that group, the handler working with a new dog will get much more information than any one of these books can provide.

Quick find:
Search/Scent Training Books
Miscellaneous books
SAR-related Web Articles
General Dog Training

Search/Scent Training Books

Search Dog Training: How to Get Started: a video and training guide
Authors: Ed Stopper and Madde Watts
This video and training guide does a great job at describing the steps involved for training an air scenting search dog. Also touches on handler requirements, which is often overlooked in most print materials. Any shortcomings in the manual (such as using food to teach tracking) are overcome by the clear and concise sections on gear, selecting a dog and the value of keeping a training log. Available from:
Multi-SAR Technologies
29 Regent Lane
Chico, CA 95973

Search and Rescue Dog Training
Author: Sandy Bryson
The Boxwood Press, 1976
ISBN: 0-910286-47-7
This is the first edition of Bryson's book and is out of print. Get it if you can find it. I also have the more recent version (1984), but consider the first edition more useful.

Scent and the Scenting Dog
Author: William Syrotuck
Can be ordered from the
NASAR Bookstore as well as through other places.
ISBN: 0-914124-03-X
I still don't have my own copy of this! I need to get it ordered. This is the book of basics on scent theory.

Ready: A Step-by-Step Guide for Training the Search and Rescue Dog
Author: Susan Bulanda
Doral Publishing, 1994
ISBN: 0-944875-41-6
Though Bulanda makes a few sweeping generalizations I don't agree with, the steps she lays out for basic training for various disciplines of SAR training are quite well done.

Search and Rescue Dogs: Training Methods
Author: American Rescue Dog Association
Macmillan Publishing, 1991
ISBN: 0-87605-733-4
Despite breed bias (i.e. German Shepherds only), this book also has a good overview of what it takes to train a SAR dog.

Scent: Training to Track, Search, and Rescue
Authors: Milo D. Pearsall and Hugo Verbruggen, M.D.
Alpine Publications, 1982
ISBN: 0-931866-11-1
A good basic book for helping to understand scent theory. Light on practical aspects of SAR and of more use to competition tracking/trailing than air scent dogs.

Practical Scent Dog Training
Author: Lue Button
Alpine Publications, 1990
ISBN: 0-931866-47-2
More oriented to tracking/trailing, with limited section on air scenting. Some good suggestions for troubleshooting.

Miscellaneous, or related books

So That Others May Live -- Caroline Hebard & Her Search and Rescue Dogs
Authors: Hank Whittemore and Caroline Hebard
Bantam Books, 1995
ISBN: 0-553-09951-5
Hebard describes the early days of canine SAR and tells a few "war stories." Tends to concentrate on stories of disaster rescue missions, which are a high profile, but relatively rare use of canine SAR resources when compared to wilderness, water or cadaver searching.

Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men
Author: Donald McCaig
Harper Collins, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-015997-9
Not related to SAR, but a great dog book nonetheless. McCaig describes his search for a border collie bitch in Scotland.

Articles of interest on the web

General Dog Training

By no means does the following list even come close to the multitude of general training/behavior reading that's available. These are what I recommend to anyone who has a dog and is interested in having it be a well-adjusted part of their life. Again, I'll list them in my personal order of value.

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Text and photos copyright Dan Comden, 1995-2004 Dan Comden
Seattle, WA U.S.A.
Email -- dan*@* (remove the asterisks around the "@" symbol)
Updated May 23, 2001