Search And Rescue Dog vs. Police Dog: How are they different?

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Difference between Search And Rescue Dog and Police Dog

Dogs have long been used by police and rescue units for various tasks. Due to their keen senses of smell, eyesight and hearing, dogs serve an essential purpose that mere humans cannot accomplish. Search and rescue dogs tend to be trained differently than police dogs however, especially given their distinct tasks. In this article, we compare the two types of trained canine units.

Definition

Search and rescue dogs are canines typically used by law enforcement personnel for finding missing people. These dogs are well-trained and work with dedicated handlers.

Police dogs, also known as "K-9 dogs" are also trained canines, although they are more typically used in tasks involving police and other law-enforcement personnel. Most police dogs are of the German Shepherd breed, although more recently, the training and deployment of Belgian Malinois breeds have become more common.

Usage

Search and rescue dogs have the ability to detect human scent. It is thought that this is due to the skin rafts or skin cells that are continually shed by humans. These cells carry the human scent, and it is estimated that as many as 40,000 cells are shed every minute. Search and rescue dogs also have the ability to detect perspiration, respiratory gases, and even gases released by the body during decomposition. While search and rescue dogs are often deployed by a team working on foot, the dogs can also be directed from horseback.

Police dogs are often used during police searches and other activity, and some are even outfitted with ballistic vests. In some police stations, the dogs are considered police officers, and they are even assigned police badges and IDs.

Tasks

Search and rescue dogs are routinely called upon to perform searches in the wilderness and disaster sites. They may also be used during avalanche- or drowning-related search and rescue missions. When in the wilderness, search and rescue dogs are often deployed in areas where the scent of the subject tends to collect. In some cases, dogs may start from the last known point of the subject, or from the site of a clue. Since search and rescue dogs are often called upon to perform their tasks for several hours, they will have to be trained to ignore distraction.

Police dogs for their part are generally tasked with public order enforcement duties, in which case they may be directed to chase and hold suspects. In some cases, human police officers may also detain suspects by threatening to release the dogs. In such cases, police officers may employ direct apprehension or the “Bark and Hold” method. Police dogs may also be used to detect drugs or explosives.

Summary

Search and rescue dog

  • Typically used by law enforcement personnel for finding missing people
  • Work with dedicated handlers

Police dog

  • Typically used in tasks involving police and other law-enforcement personnel
  • Most are of the German Shepherd breed
  • May also be used to detect drugs or explosives

 
 

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