Scent Dog News - March 2020 Excellence in K9 SAR since 1989 - Search & Rescue Dog Association of Alberta


The COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone's mind and is impacting all of us, one way or another. SARDAA has suspended Sunday training sessions until further notice. In addition, your Executive has composed a Viral Pandemic Policy which is available to members on D4H.

We are grateful to all the health care practitioners in our ranks and beyond, for your dedication to the nation’s health – thank you!

Please self-isolate and spend lots of time with your dog, if you have one! Continue to work your dogs and it's also suggested that you work on those on-line courses offered!

Stay healthy… we will make it through this with everyone’s co-operation. – Editor

Pups in Training

Sharka and Michelle arriving at Edmonton International Airport, February 11, 2020

With help from SAR friends in Holland, Michelle sourced a Doberman pup at van Frieslands Glorie kennel in The Netherlands. Sharka is in training for HRD and will be Michelle's sixth SAR dog...

Welcome New Members

David and Mallie from Bon Accord; Mallie is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.
Emily and GSD Kenai from Parkland County
Shelley and GSD Reecon are from High River.

Farewell to BB...

Paula and BB in 2015.
BB in 2010.

Paula and SARDAA members were sad to hear of the passing of BB in December 2019. BB was born in 2005 and initially trained in live find searching until she was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. An operation and intensive rehab allowed BB to resume training but in Human Remains Detection. She had a very successful career for many years! Paula always said BB was "the perfect dog"!

Porcupine vs. Rabbit -

Rabbit chewed brush...

MaryAnn writes – In my travels through the Cardiff hall woods in mid-March 2010, I noticed that spring was slowly creeping in and with that hungry critters. I thought that in case some of you are not aware of the sign differences between rabbit and deer and porcupine in the winter, I would show you. I took a few pictures of what signs to look for in order to know that porcupines were, or still are, in the area. Porcupines eat the bark off of trees year round but will also eat other vegetation when it is available. Rabbits and deer tend to eat bark when other vegetation is sparse. Rabbits and deer chew on a tree as high as they are tall. Porcupines climb and go right up the tree to the tips. Rabbits and deer obviously cannot climb. Above and below this article are photos of examples of the newly chewed trees from porcupine and one chewed low to ground by rabbits. So if your travels take you to the woods, be aware there are porcupines roaming about. More about our dogs worse nightmare at: https://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/mammals/porcupine.html

Porcupine chewing...beware!

Winter 2020 SARDAA SAR Basics Course.

Led by SARDAA instructor Anita, five new members completed their SAR Basics training over the course of several weekends in January, February and March. Our thanks to the many other SARDAA instructors who helped Anita with various aspects of the training and to the participants who dedicated the time for this essential training.

Standing (l to r) - Joanne WSAR and David WSAR, Jordan, (Mr/Ms Coveralls), Michael and Zachary. Kneeling - Shelley and Kelly.
Night search!

Tug or Not to Tug

Posted on February 4, 2018 by Martha McCormick, How To Safely Tug with your Dog -

Tugging is a popular activity for many dogs and their owners. It may be done to initiate enthusiasm, to increase muscle strength, used as a positive reward, or to just plain old have fun. I have seen dogs calmly play tug and dogs tug with so much gusto their owners could barely stay on the ground. If done correctly, tugging can be a safe and effective way of increasing strength in the body core and hind limbs, as well as the cervical region. When tugging with our dogs, it’s important to make sure we are not causing any harm. Emphasis should be on keeping the dog’s spine in a neutral position. A neutral spine does not involve extreme extension. We will want to keep the neck even with the floor or even looking down. Tugging with the dog in a level position will involve a significant amount of core work, as well as work to the hamstrings and gluteals. Hamstring strength is important in dogs with cranial cruciate disease (ACL, CCL) or very straight stifles. Gluteal strength is important in any dog that performs jumping or running activities. If possible, I like to sit on a stool or the ground and hold onto the tug toy. Sitting on the floor or on a stool will not only help your posture, it will also prevent the dog from pulling too far up with their neck. If you have a small breed, you will need to lower your body or arm to their eye level. Another form of tugging is to place the tug on the ground and ask the dog to tug up. I like to place the tug under my foot and and have the dog pull in an upward motion. The abdominals and forelimbs will be very active during this motion and this is an excellent activity for strengthening these areas. This type of activity is very useful for dogs involved in jumping and landing as it focuses on the strength in the large forelimb muscles. The forelimbs need stability when landing from a jump. Increasing this through dynamic tugging is important. Abdominal strength is key to stabilizing the spinal region. Tugging with the head up and neck or cervical region in a very extended position can place a significant amount of stress on the neck and jaw. I have seen dogs actually flying around while tugging. This movement can stress the cervical spine as well as complicate the small facet joints of the neck. If your dog has always enjoyed tugging but suddenly avoids the activity and/or releases the tug suddenly, you should explore the possibility of a physical issue. Things to look for would be any spinal pain, TMJ (jaw) pain or problems with the mouth, teeth or throat. Keeping it Fun & Safe, FOLLOW these simple guidelines: 1. Keep the dog’s neck in a neutral position, never extended up or down. 2. Start with short sessions and gradually increase time. 3. Provide consistent tension for the dog to tug against (do not yank the dog back and forth). 4. Increase the challenge by having the dog stand on an unstable and/or uneven surface. 5. Always make sure your dog is cleared for exercise by a veterinarian before starting any conditioning program.

YoYo searching. (Photo by Meighan)

Tail End...

... the many things on Facebook!
Mallie - just cute!!!! (Photo by Meighan)
Editors note – Scent Dog News is produced by the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta. Submissions are welcome but are subject to approval and editing. Editor – Michelle Limoges; Email – udcdoberman@shaw.ca
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