About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

April 29, 2011

2011 AZ K9 SARCON -- Search & Rescue Dogs and Handlers Come to Flagstaff

This year for the first time, the Arizona K9 SAR Conference was held here in Flagstaff, hosted by our own Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team. More than 50 dogs and their handlers came from around the state and other parts of the U.S. to learn from expert instructors and from one another during this four-day event.

Classes included Air Scent K-9 Fieldwork, Trailing Dogs Fieldwork, Introduction to Scent Theory, Scent Dynamics, Forensics/Decomposition, Human Remains Detection/Fieldwork,
Pheromonal Communications, Helicopter Safety for Search and Rescue Canines, ROC and Triangulation Techniques, Field First Aid for K-9s, Human Bone Identification, and Working K-9 Health Issues.

I'm not a K9 handler, myself, but I really enjoyed helping out with this conference for a couple of days -- "getting lost" for the dogs to find -- and at times just observing. I found the advice and tips the instructors gave the handlers fascinating, including suggestions for how to correct certain behaviors (both their own and the dogs'), overcome challenges, and build on the dogs' natural instincts.

Alerts, motivation, and rewards were often the focus during field work sessions, as well as training techniques and reading the dogs' signals. I loved watching the handlers communicate with their canine partners and especially enjoyed seeing the fun the dogs had, because, to them, searching is a game with a prize at the end.

As the "subject" of dozens of searches, I saw -- and felt -- lots of pink tongues and wet noses up close and personal and handled quite a few gooey toys and hotdogs.

This excited four-legged SAR volunteer has located me, run back to get Mom and lead her to his find.

The K9s came in all shapes and sizes. Isn't she a beauty?

She may be little, but she's got a great nose and work ethic.

Instructors, including Coco SAR's Cindy McArthur, worked one-on-one with dogs and handlers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is an app for iPhone out there now called Adventure Plan. Please post this so your readers can see this. Everyone should use this app before they go hiking, fishing, camping, or anykind of traveling. You use it to notify your friends where you are going, when you will return, and whatever other specifics about your trip you can think of. That way, incase you get lost or your vehicle breaks down, friends or search and rescue can use that info to find you. The more info search and rescue has about your adventure, the better chance of being found alive. Please check it out. Thanks!