Search & Rescue Dog Trainer Course Details

Our Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Program prepares you to train and handle dogs in the challenging and exciting world of Search and Rescue. We teach the fundamental skills needed to be successful in training and handling dogs for all categories of Search and Rescue Dog operations: Disaster Dog/Urban Search and Rescue – USAR , Air Scenting/Wilderness SAR, Scent Discrimination Trailing, Human Remains Detection (HRD)/Cadaver Dog for Search and Recovery Operations, Water SAR, and Water HRD. Students may select one area to specialize in during training to ensure they learn the techniques from beginning to end.

search and rescue dog trainer course

Our Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Program teaches students how to properly select a search and rescue dog prospect, as well as all areas of training and maintaining a search and rescue dog. This program contains other instruction relevant to Search and Rescue Dog training including: record keeping and report writing, K9 First Aid and CPR, search strategies, and much more. There is no prerequisite for the Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Program

Search & Rescue Dog Trainer Course Calendar

We offer three programs for you to learn Search and Rescue Dog Training.  Our SAR Dog Trainer courses are offered in 6, 8 and 12-week increments to meet your needs.

Our Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Courses begin on the first Monday of January, April, July and October. Our programs fill fast and space is limited.

You can view our most recent calendars for our School for Dog Trainers by clicking on the buttons to the right.  Each calendar is a downloadable .pdf

Search & Rescue Dog Trainer Course Pricing

Search & Rescue Dog Trainer Course Subjects

The training environment and facilities at Highland Canine Training, LLC provide realistic training scenarios to ensure our students and their canine companions are prepared to participate in real-world Search and Rescue operations. After all, a life may depend on them.


Frequent Questions

Is this Program VA Approved?

Unfortunately, our Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Course is not currently eligible for VA benefits.

Do You offer Financing?

We offer simple and affordable financing options and can finance tuition for up to 48 months with payments as low as $151 per month.

Are there Prerequisites?

No.  There are no prerequisites for our Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Course.  This program will give you all the skills and knowledge that you need, regardless of experience.

Our Next Search & Rescue Dog Trainer Course Starts in:


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Start Your Career As a Professional Dog Trainer! Our School for Dog Trainers gives You All the Knowledge and Skills You Need to Be Successful!

Introduction and Ethology
Introduction to Professional Dog Training as a Career
– Evolution of the Canine
– Canine Ethology, & taxonomy
– Comparison of the Domestic Dog and other Canids
– Pedigree Research
Language of Dogs
– Reading and Understanding Canine Body Language and Stress Signals in Dogs
Applied Dog Behavior
– Understanding applied dog behavior
Clicker training as a method of Positive Reinforcement
Baiting and Luring dogs, using food as a reinforcement
Search and Rescue Dogs – An Overview and Case Studies
Selection of Search and Rescue Prospects
– Selecting and Testing Puppies
– Selecting and Testing Adult Dogs

Drive Development for Search and Rescue:
Puppy development
Understanding and Assessing Prey Drive
Hunting Ability
Defense Drive
Record Keeping and Report Writing

Practical Application of Baiting and Luring Dogs
How Dogs Learn
– Learning Theory and Principles

– Application of Reinforcement Schedules
– Behavior Shaping and Fundamentals of Training
EXCEL-erated Learning
Working with Puppies
Search and Rescue Training Equipment:
– Leashes and Collars
– Lines
– Harnesses
– Other equipment

Proper Application of Training Tools
Practical Socialization
Testing Dogs
Purely Positive Training
Role of the Helper
Training the Wilderness SAR Dog
– Imprinting Methods
– Building Search Methods
– Teaching the Re-Find
– Teaching the Bark Alert
– Creating Effective Reinforcement Schedules
– Problem Solving
– Maintenance Training

A Dogs’ Mind
Behavior Problems
– Effective Behavior Analysis
– Dominance and Aggression
– Phobias and Fear Aggression
– Possessive Aggression
– Territorial Aggression
– Maternal Aggression
– Idiopathic Aggression
– Neurotic Behaviors
Successfully Resolving Problem Behaviors
Dog Aggression BITING
Behavior Analysis Assignment
Training the Trailing Dog
– Scent Theory
– Proper Handling Techniques
– Variable Surface Trailing
– Scent Discrimination Trailing
– Training the Bark Alert
– Problem Solving
– Containment Techniques

Marketing Your Dog Training Business
Advertising Strategies for Dog Trainers
Website Planning and Design
– Site Structure
– Form vs. Function
– Blogs and other Web Marketing Ideas
Kennel Management
Running a Boarding Kennel
Working with Clients
Practical Business Management Assignments
Behavior Analysis Practical Examination
Training Human Remains Detection Dogs
– Imprinting
– Simple Direct Association
– Deferred Response
– Other Detection Training Methods
– Search Methods
– Teaching the Alert
– Proofing

– Problem Solving

Explore Dog Specialties
– Agility
– Treibball
– K9 Nosework
– Protection
– Search and Rescue
Attend a Private Lesson
Pet First Aid and CPR
Veterinary and Canine Medical Issues
– Understanding What is Normal
– Preventive Medicine
– Treatments for Illness
Agility Training for Search and Rescue Dogs
– Agility Course Layout
– Confidence Development
– Teaching Practical Agility



Search and Rescue Handler Instruction
– Teaching SAR K9 Handlers
– Creating Effective Lesson Plans
– Aspects of Remedial Training

Conducting Effective K9 Demonstrations

Training the Disaster Search Dog
– Imprinting
– Teaching the Bark Alert
– Introduction to the Rubble Pile
– Teaching Multiple Decoys
– Effective Search Methods
– Problem Solving
– Maintenance Training

Disaster Search Dog Skills
– Training for Multiple Victims
– Working in Distracting Environments
– Dealing with Deep/High Entrapments
– Proofing
Wilderness Search Dog Skills
– Training for Multiple Victims
– Working in Distracting Environments
– Dealing with Deep/High Entrapments
– Proofing

HRD Canine Training Skills
– Conditioning the HRD dog for deep hides
– HRD Canines on the Rubble Pile
– Teaching High Hides
– Proofing with other Decomposition
– Basic and Advanced Decomposition
– Cadaver Dogs in Aquatic Environments
– Problem Solving
– Maintenance Training

Scenario Based Training and Problem Solving
Search and Rescue Operations
Establishing Effective Problems for Skill Building

Search and Rescue Unit Supervision and Management
Certification Issues and Requirements
Role of Scenario Based Certifications