Gleason is an Area Search dog in our K9 Search and Rescue group. Area Search dogs are ones that are trained to find any human in a specific area, using, primarily, air scent carried by the wind. They work off-lead, so that they can work much faster and efficiently than a whole bunch of people, but they are directed by their handlers, to insure that the dog gets downwind of all locations in their assigned area.
I have personally witnessed a dog pick up the scent of its subject from 1/4 mile away, verified by GPS, then follow that scent into the subject. But then, I have also seen dogs miss a subject that was about 10 feet away, so it is extremely important that the handler knows what they are doing. It is also important for search managers to realize that dogs are not perfect, but that they are still valuable tools in the search for missing people.
Tags: Gleason Search dog www.southwestsearchdogs.org mywinners