Here are just a few of the frequently asked questions we see.
If you have a question that is not listed here, then please contact us.

How do I become a Dog Handler?

By dedicating most of your spare time for (on average) 2 years! Seriously, it takes a lot of commitment to become a qualified dog team. Qualified teams have built up an extraordinary bond between each other and this take a long time to build. If you think you and your four-legged companion have what it takes then please take a look at the 'Can I join the team' question below.

How do I become a Search Technician?

The role of a Search Technician is the minimum qualification you require to become operational and be deployed on live callouts. The role includes skills such as basic life support, outdoor navigation, water safety and in the case of our team, the skills of dog-team support. If you would like to discuss how you could join the team please take a look at the 'Can I join the team' question below.

How long does it take to train a search dog?

A long time! On average it take about two years to train a dog and handler to operational level, but this can vary. Some dogs teams have qualified in 12 months whilst others can still be in training after 3 or 4 years! Not all dogs who start training make it to be an operational, nationally qualified search dog.

What level of commitment is required?

For search technicians, our minimum requirements are that you are able to attend one training session a month. For dog handlers, the minimum requirements is two training sessions a month. However, for both roles, you get what you put in. Successful dog handlers typically attend training every week and also train with family and friends in-between training sessions. This could be for up to two years. And it doesn't stop when you are qualified! You need to re-qualify every two years so even qualified handlers train multiple times a month, excluding callouts. It is not something you should take lightly - it is a big commitment personally and also for your family.

My dog would be a good search dog, do you want to use him?

Unfortunately not, unless you want to join us as well. A Dog and handler are a team and they train and are qualified as a pair. One cannot work without the other.

Can I come and watch you train?

If you are serious about joining or supporting us, of course! But be prepared to help us by being a ‘misper’ (missing person). We are always looking for people willing to come and hide for our dogs. It can be a lot of fun. You will also get the opportunity to see the dogs perform a search.

Can you find my [insert thing here] ?

Nope. Sorry. We often get emails asking us to find missing pets. Our dogs are trained to find people only and we are solely called out by the Police.

Can I join the team? How?

Take a really good look around our website and thoroughly read all of these F.A.Q's. We wan't you to get a really good understanding of who we are and what we do. The team opens induction typically twice a year for Search Technicians and once a year for new Dog Handlers. Please contact us and tell us a little bit about yourself and what is motivating you to join. We often organise regular open evenings/talks/webinars for potential new members and take you through the process and flow to become a team member.

What breed of dog is best for search?

Absolutely any breed could become a search dog! Yes really!

**However**, there are breeds that are more likely to be successful than others. Working dogs and gun dogs tend to be very common within search teams. Take a look at the dogs in our team to see what breeds we currently have on the team to give you a better idea.

Can you train my dog for me?

Unfortunately not. A Dog and handler are a team and they train and are qualified as a pair. One cannot work without the other.

Who/what do you look for?

Search Dogs are employed in a wide range of scenarios looking for missing people of all types and age groups including WALKERS AND CLIMBERS, those suffering from ALZHEIMERS or DEMENTIA, CHILDREN, DESPONDENTS and possibly VICTIMS OF CRIME.

Please see more detail on this page.

How are you called upon to find missing people?

We can only be called out by Sussex Police and fellow Lowland Rescue teams. We do not deploy for anyone else.

How many search dogs are there in the U.K?

Lowland Rescue has approximately 43 air scenting search dogs nationwide. Additional search dogs are available via Mountain Rescue and NSARDA.

Why are search dogs used?

With their amazing sense of smell, speed and agility Search Dogs can typically do the work of around 20 foot searchers in good conditions and many more in poor conditions. In ideal conditions a dog can pick up a human scent from about 500 metres.

What do search dogs do?

Search Dogs are trained to find missing people by various means such as air scenting, trailing and tracking. These are very efficient methods of searching large areas quickly and do not always require items of clothing or effects of the missing person. All of Search Dogs Sussex operational dogs are air scenting trained.

I’d like to help you fundraise or make a donation, how do I do this?


Your contribution will help save lives. Please visit our Donate page for details on how you can do this.

What will you use my donation for?

All donations to the team go towards essential equipment to help keep us operational. Some examples include:

  • Communications equipment
  • Waterproof and high visibility clothing for both dogs and handlers
  • Essential equipment for our volunteer team members who give their time and resources for nothing

Rest assured that your donation will go to a worthwhile cause.

I have a question thats not listed here!

Please contact us if you have any questions that you may have about us or our work.