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Disaster Search Dogs

Duck Hill Kennels breeds and raises Labradors for the Disaster Search role. In cooperation with Tennessee Search Dogs, Inc. we develop and train young Labradors to go into this demanding and valuable function. The Disaster Search dog is trained to seek, find, and report the location of victims trapped beneath rubble in collapsed buildings. The dogs accomplish this by searching independently and off leash. Upon finding a live victim barks and remains at the strongest scent source until his handler arrives. We furnish dogs to both Federal and State USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) Teams.

Puppies and Young Dogs
Our puppies learn most of what they need to know in kindergarten.

For the canine search specialist or USAR team that wants to buy a puppy or young started dog, ours are the best choice. Our puppy development program includes:

1. From weaning puppies are required to sit to "buy" all meals with a sit.

2. Puppies are well socialized and exposed to a variety of stimuli through trips to neighboring towns and with nature hikes throughout our 200 acre establishment.

3. Basic obedience is taught through operant conditioning with positive reinforcement.

4. Puppies are pre-programmed to bark on cue.

5. Puppies are exposed and accustomed to a wide spectrum of noises including: gunfire, cannon fire, combat noises, sirens, fireworks and heavy machinery.

6. Puppies are taught to master a "confidence course" comprised of: Aluminum boat, Swinging bridge, tight tunnels, stairs, ladders, concrete rubble piles.

Our USAR puppies are additionally trained to bark on cue, and to bark to get a barrel to open.

All of these activities are accomplished before the puppies are 16 weeks of age.


Trained USAR Dogs

We sell trained Disaster Search Dogs. The purchase of a trained disaster search dog includes a 5 day training package for the new handler. The dog is trained to the state of being ready to pass the FSA (FEMA Fundamental Skills Assessment) and will be 8 to 12 months of age. A $2,000 deposit and a lead time of 3 to 4 months is required for the purchase of a trained USAR dog.

FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Response System

FEMA currently maintains and supports a 28 Task-Force Response System to respond to disasters involving structural collapse. Each of these 80-person deployable task forces contains a canine search element comprised of 4 search dogs and 4 handlers. These task forces have responded to the 9/11 disasters, to numerous hurricanes and to several overseas disasters.

The FEMA search dog goes through a lengthy training process and is then subjected to a rigorous standardized performance test to prove its operational readiness to search for and find live victims trapped in the rubble of a structural collapse incident.

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