K9

To be considered for the OPP/OSARVA K9 Certification, the K9 team must be a member of a recognized OSARVA team and must have completed their basic training. If you are not a member of a recognized OSARVA team the first thing you should do is seek out a team in your area.

In order to become certified in Ontario, K9 teams must meet the Ontario Search & Rescue Volunteer Canine Team Evaluation Standards and Test Criteria in the following areas:

- Obedience Standards
- Agility Standards
- Search Standards
- Tracking Standards

K9 teams train in excess of 10 hours per week in addition to their other team responsibilities. It is a truly rewarding experience but requires a lot of time and dedication by both the dogs and the handlers in every type of terrain and weather condition.

There are currently four OPP/OSARVA certified K9 teams in Ontario and are members of the Ottawa Valley SAR Dog Association and Georgian Bay volunteer SAR.

OSARVA will answer questions on the specifics of the standards. OSARVA will also assist with an evaluation of the dogs prior to their test with the OPP to ensure that the K9 team is properly prepared. The OSARVA Provincial K9 Coordinator will conduct a pretest of all new K9 units who would like to attempt certification. No new units are to contact K9 HQ to set up a test until they have had a pretest, and been given the go-ahead.

For information or to set up an evaluation contact the OSARVA Provincial K9 Coordinator. - susan@osarva.ca

*** Please Note ***
OSARVA works in partnership with the OPP to facilitate the certification process. OSARVA does not offer training to K9 teams nor do we recommend any particular training school.

K9 Evaluation Standards and Test Criteria

OBEDIENCE STANDARDS

TESTING CRITERIA

The candidate team will be asked to perform the following exercises with the dog on and off leash and the handler using voice and/or hand signals.

EXERCISES

  1. Heel
  2. Jog at heel
  3. Sit at heel
  4. Down at heel
  5. Stay
  6. Recall (come from distance of 15 meters)
  7. Stay on recall
  8. Sit at a distance of 10 meters
  9. Down at a distance of 10 meters
  10. Finish – "heel"
  11. Evaluation of prey drive – demonstration of the dog’s desire to bring back a thrown article of the handler’s choice.

AGILITY STANDARDS

TESTING CRITERIA

The candidate team, working on and off leash, will be asked to negotiate an agility course consisting of:

  1. Four hurdles not to exceed one meter in height;
  2. A culvert, maximum eight meters in length and maximum one meter in diameter, laid horizontally on the ground by going straight through without stopping;
  3. An “A” frame scramble ramp, minimum height of 1½ meters;
  4. Raised log/plank not less than two meters long and 20 centimeters wide, no higher than one meter off the ground; and
  5. A platform raised at least one meter off the ground.

The handler will move at a comfortable pace with the dog under control at his/her side.

SEARCHING STANDARDS

TESTING CRITERIA

A. The candidate team will be asked to search for a concealed person in a rural/wilderness environment.

The handler must accurately indicate to the tester, before the testing begins, what form of alert the dog will perform.

The search will include:

  1. Quartering – pattern and proper use of wind;
  2. Bush and open area;
  3. Approximately one square kilometere; and
  4. Time allotment will be determined by the environmental conditions at the time (approximately two hours).

B. Each candidate will also be asked to search for and locate two, medium-sized scented articles of clothing (e.g. a T-shirt) or other items of similar size (i.e. wood, metal, leather, etc.) in a rural/wilderness area. Articles will be placed in light concealment and will not be buried. The handler will be informed if a metal article is used. One article must be cloth.

*** Please Note ***
The OSARVA Provincial K9 Coordinator will conduct a pretest of all new K-9 units who'd like to attempt certification. No new units are to contact K9 HQ to set up a test until they've had a pretest, and been given the go-ahead. For information or to set up an evaluation contact the OSARVA Provincial K9 Coordinator.

The search will include:

  1. Quartering – pattern and proper use of wind;
  2. Articles concealed up to 24 hours prior* to commencement of search;
  3. Approximately 200 meters by 200 meters; and
  4. To be completed in 30 minutes (may vary depending on environmental conditions).

*IF METAL ARTICLES ARE USED, CONCEALMENT TIME WILL BE LESS THAN 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SEARCH.

TRACKING STANDARDS

TESTING CRITERIA

The candidate team will be asked to work a 1-hour-old track (depending on weather). The track will lie in a bush/rural area. The track will include:

  1. Two kilometres in length;
  2. Three road crossings;
  3. Right angle turns (no less than four turns);
  4. One dead end (not over 15 metres in country area);
  5. Start track in bush, work to rural -- approximately ½ track in each;
  6. Approximately 20 metres on low scent area (railway, dirt, gravel);
  7. Human/animal scent distractions.

*** Please Note ***
The dog may retrieve article, or down on article, bark alert on article, or indicate by standing over it. The handler must accurately indicate to the tester, before the testing begins, what form of alert the dog will perform.