Training of the RHH.
Both the dogs and their handlers follow an extensive training. The handlers are required to be familiar with the building structures and to have knowledge of earthquakes. They have to be trained in human and animal first aid and be able to assess, the risks for the structural integrity of damaged buildings. Navigational skills, such as working with GPS, maps and compass are required as well.
A team spirit is necessary and the ability to interpret the behavior of the SAR dogs. The dogs are trained to ignore noise, smoke and chaotic surroundings. They have to improve their skills and manage their natural instinct to search and report. As such, the dog is required to have a stable and calm character. The dog has to be persevering and needs to have courage. Good social contact with humans and other animals and the ability to walk on debris, remaining calm between working periods as well as during transportation in all sorts of vehicles are a necessity as well.
The type of breed is not important to be a rescue dog for the RHH. We have all sorts of breeds like; an Australian shepherd, an English sheepdog, a Beauceron, a Labrador retriever, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, a Dutch smousdog, a German shepherd, a border collie as well as mixed breeds.
The dog and handler, a rescue team, are expected to have an excellent relationship. At the RHH, team spirit is a high priority. The members should be able to rely on each others support in every situation. During a deployment, the teams have to work under high pressure and primitive circumstances. Team spirit therefore can be a life saver. Most members of the RHH travel to Austria to participate in general rescue dog training and avalanche rescue classes, every year. The RHH organizes a training weekend in the Netherlands and in the Belgian Ardennes. During deployment and training, each of the two or three rescue teams are accompanied by an deployment leader, and there is a coordinator as well. The deployment leader observes the dog and handlers to advise and coach the teams and, if necessary, he/she makes the final decisions.
The coordinator oversees the total operation and organizes the communication and corporation with other relief organizations. He/she takes care of the logistics and organizes the operation center; tents, kitchen and what ever more is required.
During training sessions the RHH welcomes visitors who would like to see the rescue teams at work.
On the agenda-page of the RHH u can see when we have a trainingday.