CADAVER MISSION READINESS EXAM
The following test rules have been adopted by Mountain Canine Corps and are designed to determine the proficiency of the working dog team for mission readiness for cadaver work. To be eligible to attempt the cadaver evaluation, the handler and dog must be in good standing with Mountain Canine Corps.
This test is designed to test the search dog's ability and proficiency in searching a designated area for cadaver scent representing a deceased person. The dog should find and indicate corpse scented material in an identifiable manner both on the ground and buried six inches under ground surface in a sector search. The dog/handler team is to search the area by using systematic sweeps.
An evaluator will act as a judge for these tests. An evaluator will designate the search area. A second person, preferably a member of Mountain Canine Corps, will be responsible for hiding the material. The evaluator will not know where the scent is hidden. The evaluator should make every effort not to interfere with or distract the working team. The evaluator will observe the dog for a readable alert indicating a find. If the working team fails the test, they may retake it at another time and location, if agreeable to the evaluator and the acting Board of Mountain Canine Corps.
3. Search Area
The area to be searched will be one acre. It will be covered by heavy vegetation and will be contaminated prior to the test by one or more subjects crossing through the area. The cadaver material must have been placed in the area two days prior to the test.
The material will be the same scent (not pseudo scent), that the team had been using in training. This includes teeth, bone, soft tissue, and blood all from humans. It shall be contained in various containers such as PVC pipe, plastic containers, soda cans, and fabric. It must be free of any contamination (live human scent) when being handled for placement. The person hiding the material will wear rubber gloves. Care must also be taken when placing the material so not to disturb the natural habitat, thus preventing a find by sight versus scent.
There shall be two finds; a) one scented article/item should be hidden in the search area, b) one scented article/item should be buried at least six inches below ground level.
The two finds must occur within two hours. The handler passes the evaluation only if both (2) cadaver materials are found.
The dog should show a definite alert that is obvious to the evaluator when the dog locates the cadaver material. The alert type should be identified prior to the handler taking the test.
Basic definitions are as follows:
Handler: The person and dog team attempting to pass the test. Has basic search dog training dog techniques including line and grid searching. The handler is the person responsible for the day to day maintenance of the dog including the training. Upon occasion, another handler may "work" the dog in a search situation, but normally the handler/trainer is the same person.
Evaluator: Has at least 5 years experience training dogs in various disciplines. These may include obedience, tracking, agility, hunting, search and rescue. Has significant experience judging dogs in these disciplines and is knowledgeable in dog behavior. The evaluator's job is to determine mission readiness for dogs who have met the standard for evaluation.
With help from: the North American Search Dog Network, Emergency Management Agency for Tennessee, Johannes Grewe, author of "The Police Service Dog", North American Police K-9 Work Dog Association, and Corporal William Corcoran, Los Alamos Police Department.