Search Dog Training Weekend 8th – 10th April 2016
13 April 2016
Civil Defence Search Dog Teams from Dublin, Meath & Tipperary came together on the weekend of the 8th to the 10th of April to be assessed by a veteran British Police Dog trainer. The assessment was designed to determine each dog team’s ability in a variety of different search environments.
The assessment commenced at 10pm on the Range at the Phoenix Training Centre, Dublin. It was dark, initially with street lighting which was then turned off. Each dog completed two searches successfully before moving off site. At 11pm the teams moved onto the 15 Acres in the Phoenix Park. Each team was tasked with finding a missing person between the ambulance training school and the papal cross. At 1am training was stood down for the night after all dogs located their quarry.
On Saturday the 9th April the teams assembled in the Sally Gap area of the Wicklow mountains and were joined by members of the Garda Dog Unit. Before lunch the teams were required to carry out two searches each on open mountain and a single search of a steep river valley in the afternoon. Again all dogs preformed well locating all items.
On Sunday the 10th the teams assembled in lowland forestry in Co. Kildare where the teams were tested in felled forestry and scrub land. All the dog teams completed their tasks.
The weekend not only tested the dogs and handlers ability in different search environments it tested their ability to plot search areas, use wind and terrain to the teams advantage as well as practicing observational skills and search management. The teams each completed 8 separate and operationally based search scenarios and were operational for 14 hours over the course of the three days.
The handlers would like to extend their thanks to the Civil Defence College and Civil Defence Officers for supporting them and would also like to extend their thanks to the Civil Defence Volunteers who gave of their time lying out in very cold and difficult conditions.