Training - become a handler
To train a search dog takes about 3 years from new puppy to qualified Search Dog.

Most of our dog handlers are a Full Member of a Mountain Rescue Team. You may be able to qualify a Lowland Search Dog if you have the necessary navigational skills along with the right aptitude for training.

Once your application has been passed by the Committee you are required to body for six months. In this time you will be monitored to ensure that you have the time and the commitment needed to train a dog. The bodying period also allows you to experience what a real casualty may go through and also the way different dogs find you in relation to the wind and where you are hiding. This time is also for you to decide whether or not being a SARDA dog handler is for you.

If you successfully complete your bodying period you will become a Trainee handler and be invited to bring your dog along for an Acceptance and Stock Test. Once your dog has passed this it will be allowed to come to SARDA Wales training, then the work really begins !


Training is divided into stages (see useful info at the bottom right of this page to read the stages) which have to be passed before going on to the next one. It takes roughly 2 – 3 yrs to get a dog on the Call Out list and all members of the Association are involved in the training of each dog – bodies, qualified dog handlers and assessors. It is therefore very important that as a trainee you put in the required time and effort into training your dog and also help others to train their dogs.



Before being put on the call out list the dog must be put forward for assessment. This is done over three days and you and your dog will have to successfully search a variety of different areas with a number of bodies in each area. Dogs and handlers are then re-assessed after 12 months and then every three years to ensure they remain competent. Qualified dogs also have to undertake a number of training sessions each month.

Progress is monitored and reviewed every month and a trainee is expected to attend 65% of the training available per year.

For more information or an application form contact the Training Coordinator

Useful Info:

2014 training schedule
Lowland Search Dog Training Stages
Mountain Search Dog Training Stages
Trailing Dog Training Stages
Watch Training Videos

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Cymdeithas Cwˆn Chwilio Ac Achub Mynydd (Cymru) Elusen Cofrestredig Rhif 506056
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