David Warden with Wynn. Photo: Calder Valley SRT

David Warden with Wynn. Photo: Calder Valley SRT

A rescue team’s new recruit is starting training, at the tender age of 10 weeks.

Border collie bitch Wynn will begin her programme to join the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team with her handler David Warden.

The training will last about two years to reach the standards demanded by the Search and Rescue Dogs Association. Wynn is Mr Warden’s fourth border collie, and the third to be trained for mountain rescue work. He has been a member of Sarda and the Calder Valley team, based in the South Pennines, for 20 years.

Tim Ingram from the team said: “Search dogs have been a part of CVSRT since 1977 and currently the team has four air-scenting search dogs and handlers.

“Over the years there have been 15 dogs and 10 handlers assisting the team on searches. The dogs are trained to ‘air scent’ so, as a general rule, they do not track the missing person, but react to wind-borne human scent.

“A search dog can cover large areas of ground, including difficult terrain and woodland in the search and is very sensitive to any human scent it finds. It will immediately follow a scent to its source. It will then ‘indicate’ to its handler, usually by barking, to let them know it has made a ‘find’.

“It is not unusual for a dog to pick up a scent from a missing person, 500m or more away.

“As part of the training process, dogsbodies are used to hone the dogs’ senses. Dogsbodies are highly valued people in the development of the search dog. They go out on the hill and hide for the dogs to find on training and assessments courses.”

He said anyone interested in becoming a dogsbody or helping the handlers with training can visit the team’s website.

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