May 20, 2024


A hiker got lost in a vast forest area. A person with dementia ran away. My child is gone. These are typical cases where rescue dogs are used in addition to police, fire brigade and mountain rescue teams. Not to be confused with police dogs. There are rescue dog teams across Germany, either privately organized or affiliated with organizations such as Johanniter, Malteser, and the Red Cross. Some rescue dog teams are in urgent need of reinforcements and are looking for dog owners who want to join with their animals. Some organize rescue dog castings for this purpose.

dog casting

The Straubing Cham rescue dog team from Johanniter Anfall Hilfe recently conducted such a casting outside Waffenbrunn. Those allowed to participate were preselected by telephone in advance. For example, if your dog is too small or too large, it is not suitable for exploring areas outdoors. “Once a dog is fully trained, it will have to search an area of ​​50,000 square meters. For example, a typical companion dog, as well as large and unwieldy dogs such as Saint Bernards and Great Danes. , where he took his own life,” says Melanie Weinhold. Rescue dog team trainer.

Not suitable for aggressive or fearful dogs

Aggressive or highly fearful dogs are also not suitable. Dogs should like people, and even better, they should be “playful and greedy,” says Melanie Weinhold. The latter is good for motivating him to search. This animal is suitable for further training from puppyhood, but then at most until he is 3 years old, and up to 4 years old if at least his one companion dog examination has already been completed. All this will be explained in detail in the lecture at Waffenbrunn before the actual casting. During the actual cast, each dog and owner is tested individually for approximately 15 hours.

Playful exercise in a fenced meadow

Five dog owners came to Waffenbrunn’s casting. I have a Jack Russell Terrier and a 2 1/2 year old male Border Collie named Bingo. It belonged to 22-year-old Saskia Meis, who for the first time was allowed to show if and how she trained her own dog in a fenced meadow. “Bingo” can do more than “sit” and “sit down” and eagerly follows Saskia’s requests with clear commands. These are also minimum standards. It is difficult to train an adult dog to be a rescue dog if it is not trained at all yet. Then Saskia and her dog have to practice off-roading. Does Bingo crawl inside the tube? Can we at least give him an incentive to do so? Walking on unstable ground? Not everything has to be perfect, says rescue dog trainer Melanie Weinhold. “We just want to know how dogs and humans work together. Is it possible to develop something?” No matter how obedient a dog is, it’s also important that it doesn’t cling to its owner out of fear. This is also tested in a playful way. If the animal is unwilling to move more than a few meters away, it is not suitable for emergency search operations.

Training to become a rescue dog takes two to three years.

Dog owners are just as important. This is because dogs and humans always work together in emergencies. Dog owners must be physically strong and mentally resilient. It is not uncommon for rescue dogs to search for people who are at risk of suicide or to find deceased people. Many missions take place at night. Teamwork is important. Also, training to become a rescue dog requires a lot of time and patience, usually taking him two to three years. After that, training must continue on a regular basis, for example at least once a week with the Johanniter rescue dog team Straubing Cham. Otherwise, the dog will forget everything again. After that, there are regular exams. “Many people today don’t feel comfortable doing one thing for long periods of time, especially if it’s spontaneous,” says rescue dog trainer Melanie Weinhold.

Even if a dog team helps with the search, there is no money. But people organized by aid organizations such as Johanniter do not have to pay for training to become rescue dogs out of their own pockets. Well equipped. The bottom line is that above all else, you need to have fun. Squad leader Christina Koch says: She says, “You have to look at it as a hobby with a serious background.”

Saskia and her dog “Bingo” want to join in to help others

Dog owner Saskia Meis and her border collie “Bingo” passed the casting call. We would like to invite you to training. If all goes well and you’re both on track, you also have the option of training “Bingo” to become a rescue dog. 22 year old Saskia’s dream! She already likes keeping busy with her border collie, which requires a lot of exercise and “mental” activity due to its breed, but she wanted to do even more and at the same time do something useful. I am. She is here to help others,” says Saskia Meis.

Rescue team consisting of man and dog saves lives

The other four dogs cast at Waffenbrunn and their owners will also be invited for further training. Melanie Weinhold is pleased with the result. At a casting call held in Lower Bavaria a few months ago, only half of the 14 participants were promising. Rescue dogs are important. Melanie Weinhold and her dog Bella have already saved lives twice. During the search, “Bella” found an 81-year-old man collapsed and helpless in the forest, as well as a critically ill patient missing from the hospital.



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