The use of dogs for search and rescue is not new. Specially trained dogs have been used across the world for decades. These dogs have been successful in searching for lost hunters, hikers, Alzheimer’s patients who have wandered away, children who have become lost, victims of avalanches or trapped in rubble created by earthquakes or explosions, victims of boating accidents, or evidence in criminal cases.

Utah Search Dogs, Inc. (USD) is an all volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit, professional canine search and rescue organization. We have members that collectively have over 100 years of experience training search dogs and dogs in general. We are dedicated to assisting law enforcement and other governmental agencies in the location of lost and missing persons. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES.

Utah Search Dogs, Inc. has teams certified and provides assistance in the following situations: area/wilderness searches, tracking/trailing, water recovery, avalanche searches, urban searches, human remains detection/cadaver searches, and disaster searches. USD is on-call and available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Utah Search Dog teams consist of a handler and his or her dog. Team members donate their time and resources training to meet rigid standards including: scent theory, search theory, canine obedience, canine agility, GPS/navigation skills, mountaineering skills, first aid skills, and physical fitness. All handlers are NASAR (National Association for Search and Rescue) SARTECH II certified. Some teams are also NASAR certified in various entities of canine search. Teams maintain a constant state of readiness, able to respond at any time, day or night, to an emergency. Teams are also able to work under most weather conditions.

SCENT is described as microscopic particles, called raft particles, which are shed by the body at a rate of 40,000 per minute as the person walks, sits, etc. (Pigpen effect) Raft particles (like dust) will collect on objects for a period of time and approximately 50% of them will remain airborne. The raft particles go through a decay process that give off an odor that the dog is able to smell.

AREA/WILDERNESS dog/handler teams are specially trained to locate victims who become lost such as hunters, hikers, children, campers, the elderly or mentally disabled. An air scent dog uses air currents to locate human scent.

AVALANCHE dogs/handler teams are trained to help locate individuals who have been buried under snow during an avalanche.

CADAVER/HRD dogs are specially trained to locate and indicate on bodies and body parts. A cadaver dog is trained to locate human remains in varying quantities and at all stages of decomposition. The cadaver dog is trained to give an indication, such as a sit, down or bark at the scent source. They can be used to locate surface remains, clandestine graves, in search and rescue, crime scene investigations, and disasters.These dogs can be used to locate surface remains, clandestine graves or victims of natural or man made disasters.

DISASTER trained dogs bark and dig at the location of the victim hidden beneath rubble from earthquakes, explosions, tornadoes, mud slides, flooding, etc.

DISASTER/HRD is a new speciality where the K9 locates human remains in disaster environments.

EVIDENCE dog/handler teams assist law enforcement in locating evidence such as shell casings, guns, knives, etc.

TRACKING/TRAILING dogs are specially trained K9s that are particularly useful when a last known location has been established for the missing person. A tracking/trailing dog is scent specific and is trained to follow the path of a particular person. For a tracking/trailing dog to be effective, we need a scent article from the missing person and the last place the missing person was known to be.

WATER search dogs can work from the shore or from a boat and will indicate to scent rising from a submerged body.