What is SAR training all about?


As a SAR dog, Andra has to manage all the different ways of transportation, even the less pleasant ones, i.e. the rappelling. A few days after her 10 month birthday „celebration“, I took her for the first rappelling training. It was all completely safe and managed by firemen. First the handler rappelled in order to practice how to tie knots and how to block on the rope. As a novelty, they learned to transport themselves – sometimes even head down – over the edge of the cliff. In the meantime we introduced the rappelling harness to the dogs (it is kind of a “bag” with handles and holes for legs) and gradually hitched them on the rope and lifted them first to a small height and then lowered them down again. Andra approached this lot as another phase of a crazy, but entertaining training, and as you can see on the photos, she behaved by rule and completely calmly, even when working with a completely unknown fireman.

In the second phase we tried several ways of rappelling with a dog, this time directly down the ramp - the dog can either be hitched on the rope in front of you, on your back or bellow you. The easiest way to achieve a mutual concert between the handler and the dog is to have the dog in front of you on the rope – you can see the dog all the time, and the dog certainly feels safer. Since Andra looked quite satisfied, I dared, as the only one, to try to go down with the dog on my back, hanging head down over the ramp. It is no bungee jumping kind of jump, all the steps and the overbalancing head down can be done with the help of the rope slowly and quietly, and thanks to that the dog only feels a little dangle. During this phase we heard a humming noise bellow us and I was almost scared that Andra slipped out of the harness, but fortunately, it was only the admiring humming of the audience who appreciated Andra’s calm behavior, despite the fact her head dangled a few times during the overbalancing. After she had reached the ground, she was satisfied again, and she went on the rope again – this time we lowered the dogs alone, to get them introduced to the variant when the handler and the dog are lowered down separately, and at the bottom the dog is untied by an unknown person. I think Andra will remember this day as a very successful training. I then let her play with a ring and find a person and mark him with barking, which satisfied her and she was happily taken home by car.


First introduction to the “bag” :-))

    jen tak si visím

in the front




then in the back







ještě kousek ...    hladké přistání ;-)


      z očí do očí      


written by: Lucie Dlouha

pictures by: Martin Brandner, Kristyna Kilianova, Pavel Uhliar  - thank you all for providing those pictures


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Copyright © Martina Hodková, 2007

Last Update: 5.3.2007