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Dorset Search Dogs

The sister duo behind Pawesome Pet Tags believe that all dogs have superpowers.

Dorset Search Dogs is a voluntary organisation that utilise these superpowers and assist the police and other statutory bodies in the search for missing people. So it's only fitting that they also wear our customised logo pet tags with self-healing superpowers!

The dogs specialise in air scenting which differs to the traditional search methods used in the police. They do not start the search from the last place the person in question is thought to have been, nor must they use the scent of an item of clothing from the missing person. Instead, they follow the scent of a human, track this until they locate the source and then run to notify their handler when they detect a human. As a reward, they are given a squeaky ball to play with.

There are two types for air scenting dogs the team use; hasty dogs and area dogs. Hasty dogs follow a path or route, checking about 20 metres either side of this. Whilst an area dog, as the name suggests, covers a particular area. They can search 50-80 acres with a high probability of detection in an hour to an hour and half. This is significantly quicker than a team of 6 humans walking abreast in a search line.

The Dorset Search Dog handlers are first-aid trained amongst many other skills allowing them to be self-sufficient in almost any scenario. Meanwhile, the search dogs themselves are also flight trained so they can be deployed by the Dorset Police helicopter team. A pretty impressive bunch I'm sure you'll agree!

So, how can you be part of a pawesome Search Dog team?

It usually takes between 12-18 months to train a dog and handler to become fully qualified and operational and you may then find search and rescue teams ask you come with several years’ experience before becoming a dog handler. However, Dorset Search Dogs have a different approach. They’ve developed a 6 week course that will guide young dogs and enthusiastic handlers through the basic skills required to become a Search Dog team. Not only will this give you an excellent foundation should you be wanted to continue training and become fully qualified, but the course trainers also use this as an opportunity to spot gifted dogs or handlers. The course fees are very reasonable and you can smile knowing every penny goes back to the Dorset Search Dogs charity!

For more information about the team, the work they do or their Beginners Search Dog Course, visit their website:

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