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BC Search Dog Association seasonal training begins in Osoyoos, B.C.

Dogs are known for their unique abilities and strong noses, and search and rescue groups around the province are taking advantage of that and refreshing the pup’s skills ahead of the summer.

The BC Search Dog Association (BCSDA) is proving that dogs are more than just man’s best friend.

“Dogs are a great support for missing persons and our search and rescue programming BC. We use them for everything from wilderness search to tracking to avalanche rescue,” said Roger Bean, vice-president of BCSDA.


Click to play video: 'SAR K9 teams trained in the Okanagan'


SAR K9 teams trained in the Okanagan


This week, the pups and their handlers are getting in their seasonal training at Anarchist Mountain in Osoyoos.

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The canines are used by dozens of search and rescue groups around the province. There are currently close to 40 search dogs working in B.C.

“They search in a different way than us humans do. We typically … will call out or look, where the dog about 80 per cent of the scents they take in through their nose. It’s just a different way of searching so it kind of makes us a multi-disciplinary team,” said Bean.


Click to play video: 'Central Okanagan Search and Rescue hosts rope rescue program'


Central Okanagan Search and Rescue hosts rope rescue program


Diana Krauss is one of the handlers at the mountain and is training with her dog, Nikita. She’s been involved with Osoyoos/Oliver Search and Rescue for two years, after being inspired by local members.

“When the local dog handler Mike Arychuk and his dog Kaya had validated … that just piqued my interest. I reached out to them and it’s been no stopping from there,” Krauss said.

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The pair has been working on Nikita’s scent detection and tracking skills, which Krauss says hasn’t been too challenging for her four-legged friend.

“The dog I have, she’s very talented and has just taken to this like gangbusters,” she said.


Click to play video: 'Four-legged hero retires from rescue career in Penticton'


Four-legged hero retires from rescue career in Penticton


The training is not only for young pups and new handlers, but those with all types of experience to freshen up their skills.

“For the intermediate class, they’re the ones who progress beyond just kind of the game of looking for a person and they’re actually trying to operationalize it into search techniques. We have our validated handlers, what we call our advanced group, and that’s more peer-to-peer support and we’re just practicing new things,” Bean said.

The group is grateful for the opportunity to train with colleagues from across the province, and thank local landowners and the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department for letting them train on their properties.

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