Rats.co.nzSpecialist First Response Team to the Canterbury Region


National USAR Search Dog Training Weekend


On 6-8 July 2007 Brenda (and Boss) Linda (and Que) Janelle (and Cairo) and Graham (and Tala) headed to Auckland to join other handlers from around the country for the third national USAR Search Dog Training Weekend.

Brenda and Linda were the lead instructors for the weekend and Janelle and Graham also had the opportunity to do some instructing as well as training their dogs.


Cairo ready for searching
Cairo ready for searching
The weekend started at the Southdown Freezing Works site which was very much like the old Kaipoi site with a labyrinth of dark and dingy buildings with the odd rat of the real kind (which Brenda initially thought was a cat thankfully as she hates rats).  The rain was torrential and it was good to be inside although the odd leak in the roof required negotiation of a waterfall or two.  Building search is notoriously quite hard with scent doing strange things.  This was really evident in one search that Graham set up when the dogs were alerting looking at a wall!  We spent most of the day around Southdown as it is a huge site and offered a real variety of training.  That night we worked in a small industrial yard nearby.


Saturday morning saw us head over the Harbour Bridge and out to Whangaparoa Peninsula where the Navy have a base.  We were able to use the huge underground tunnels originally build to support the guns placed on the heads to defend the harbour. Underground it was pitch black but the dogs didn’t seem to mind and worked really well.  We also used a small building on the site.


Sunday morning we headed a large concrete rubble pile.  Thankfully the sun had decided to make an appearance. 
Brenda, Linda and J on rubble pile
Brenda, Linda and J on rubble pile
Brenda, Janelle and Graham all did mock assessment with their respective pooches which was a bit disconcerting with “view hill” having most of the other handlers watching.  The dogs did us proud (although some were starting to tire) and showed some of the newer handlers some excellent search work. 


The Auckland team did an excellent job arranging the weekend and we all commented on the steadily rising standard of USAR dogs being trained. 


For more photos see slideshow "National USAR Search Dog Weekend"

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Updated Wednesday, 22 December 2010