Last Wednesday our team held a joint training with the Hudson, IL Fire Department and their water rescue team. This reminded me of a post from a few years ago. So here goes a re-run.
When the search managers think the missing person may be in large bodies of water we use search dogs that have been trained to find the human scent in the water. In our group, the dogs trained to search from boats obtain a totally different certification. Being a landlocked, self-declared boat person myself this is a totally interesting discipline. I must also say it is a blast to watch the K-9’s working from the boats. This is also one of the most difficult disciplines to master. There are numerous things that the handler must know to really be effective.
So, how does this work?
The scent of a person’s body will slowly work itself up to the surface of the water. Think of little microscopic bubbles full of scent making their way up to the top of a lake or river. Once at the top the scent is carried off by the wind. The dogs are able to use these bubbles and slowly work the scent cone. Yep, that thing we talked about last week — the scent cone. It leads towards a possible location of where the body could be. This helps to narrow down search areas for dive teams to search in more detail and hopefully recover the missing person.
They do what?
Handlers who work this discipline learn different facts about human bodies, decomposition, and what a body may do after being in the water. Yes, the human body will sink to the bottom but it may not stay there. TalesandTails.com; being a family-friendly blog will leave that topic and move on. Also, handlers learn things about currents, water temperatures and places where scent may like to collect; like along logs, or bridges. It seems like a lot because it is.
That’s all you get for this week. Next week we get into the mechanics of how we go about training our K-9’s to find the missing in the water.