Mason-Dixon Search Dogs demonstrate rescue skills


Matt Nyandjo

Sawyer poses for a picture before his live search demonstration.

Every year, 600,000 missing people are reported in the United States.   Mason-Dixon Search Dogs is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 in Hartford County where they utilize and train K9 search dogs. On October 5, the K9 search dog demonstrated its search abilities.  The dog demonstration had a K9 dog named Dora with its owners Lester and Diana.

Search dogs are able to they track and find any scent in the radius of an area. When a search dog finds the scent of the missing person, it runs back to its owner, tapping them to indicate that there is a person out there.

During the dog demonstration,  Diana and Lester both set up a situation for the dog. To convey the demonstration, Diana ran away far from Dora. As soon as Diana was far enough where the dog couldn’t see her in the distance, Lester told Dora to go catch.  Immediately, Dora ran all the way to Diana then ran back to Lester tapping him on the thigh. These events illustrated the immense intelligence and reliability of these search Dogs. 

Matt Nyandjo

It takes time and dedication to train these search dogs to be professional.“It takes 18 months for the dogs to be a search dog.” said Diana. 

These search dogs work for a long time in service before their retirement. “Dogs on the team are very fit, 5-8 years is about the average of what you’re going to get,” said Diana. 

“You have to have a dog that wants to work. You want them to have a good work ethic,” said Lester.

The training for the dogs to learn these skills is rather long and intense. “Training sessions are  5-7 hours 3 days a week,” said Diana.

“We work on their noses all the time because their noses aren’t as great as their eyes.” said Lester.

 Noses are the important factor in the dog being able to search for things rather than their eyes.

K9 Dora waits for her owner’s instructions.

These dog searches are safe and don’t result in much major injury, “A couple dogs have been hurt from a rescue, like a pulled muscle but nothing major,” said Lester. 

Dog searches are very important when helping policemen find missing people, detecting human remains, natural disasters, and building collapses. It’s important that K9 dogs can use their skills to help humans be more safe and have a better environment overall. 

If you have any questions about the Mason Dixon Search Dogs you can contact them on their website, and also on  their phone number: 443-977-6653. You can email them as well, [email protected]