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Recommended Reading

All the K-9 oriented books on this list share some qualities. They are all well-written by people with deep knowledge of their subject. Each author reflects the philosophy that dog are thinking beings who work in partnership with their handlers. 

These books, videos and tapes cover a wide spectrum of information. Most are eminently readable. A couple are a bit technical (ok, boring) but the information is excellent. Keep in mind that all the outstanding handlers I know are always learning. A lifetime isn’t long enough to absorb all that’s available. As you study and integrate the material into search work pay attention to the effect on your dog. Your dog will tell you whether the new stuff is working well for the two of you. Especially with the dog training info, marvelous as most of it is, it may not be right for you, or your dog or you and your dog as a team, or you and your dog right now (whew!).  Taking care of your partner is a dog handler’s first responsibility. Everything else is second.

The Dog Books

Bryson, Sandy, Search Dog Training :
THE text on SAR dog training. Lots of real search examples New printing’s promised

Bulanda, Sue, READY! The Training of the Search and Rescue Dog:
Filled with great dog knowledge, a wealth of search experience, pounds of common sense and plain talking

Burch & Bailey, How Dogs Learn : Outstanding work on operant conditioning learning theory and dogs. If you want to understand ‘clicker training’ principles, this is the book! 

Clothier, Suzanne, Booklet series

Body Posture and Emotion: Shifting Bodies, Shifting Minds,
Booklet : Find out how the power to change your dog’s emotional state is literally in your own hands

Finding a Balance: Issues of Power in the Human/Dog Relationship
Booklet: Learn about leadership in relationship with dogs

The Seven C’s, Booklet: Short, concise, packed with info - and humor - to strengthen the dog/handler relationship

Understanding and Teaching Self-Control (Just get it. Trust us on this.)

Clothier,S and Rice, J., Booklet:  Following Ghosts, Developing the Tracking Relationship: Great stuff on how dogs perceive scent.

Clothier, Suzanne, Your Athletic Dog Video with book: Develops your eye for K-9 movement. Provides tools, including massage technique, to max your partner’s structure and function

Dunbar, Ian, How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks: Training your dog as you build a great partnership. Step by step process with the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ answered.
Blends perfectly with SAR dog training. And he’s pretty funny! 

On Aggression: Fighting , Video: How to interpret what you’re seeing in dog to dog aggression and what to do about it

Training the Companion Dog, Video set : From puppy training to advanced obedience work taught efficiently, effectively and compassionately

Fisher, Betty, Caninstein: Evaluating and maxing your dog’s intelligence

Fisher, Betty and Delzio, Suzanne, So Your Dog’s Not Lassie:  A dog training book as good as it’s title - valuable even if your dog IS Lassie

Fogle, Bruce, The Dog’s Mind: How dogs experience their world. Great reading

Rugaas, Turid, On Talking Terms With Dogs:
Calming Signals You’ll never look at dog behavior the same way again

On Talking Terms With Dogs,
Video: Watch the dogs do what Rugaas describes in her book. Pretty amazing

Snovak, Eaton, Guide to Search And Rescue Dogs, Great overview of search dogs and their training. An excellent tool to decide if K9 SAR is for you and your dog 
Syrotuck, William, Scent and the Scenting Dog : A classic. First-class discussion of scent, air movement and the different responsibilities of the SAR dog and the handler in figuring out what the scent picture means

Map and Compass

Disley, John, Your Way with Map and Compass - Orienteering, both Instructor’s book and student’s book : Ok, ok. This is a kid’s intro to map and compass. That makes it as simple and easy to understand as is possible. And the games are kind of fun....

Jacobson, Cliff, Basic Essentials: Map and Compass (Short book. Excellent intro)

*Kals, W.S., Land Navigation Handbook (Sierra Club publication. Easy to understand)

*Kjellstrom, Bjorn, Be Expert With Map and Compass: The original. Still excellent

*Either book . You don’t need both

Human Remains Detection

Barton, Bruce and Clemmo, Lorrie, Rescue International’s Water Search With Dogs, Video: Clear overview of water work with dogs. The excellent footage of SAR dogs on the job makes a great learning tool for shoreline observers

Bass, William, Human Osteology, A Laboratory and Field Manual: From the man who established the ‘Body Farm” at U of Tenn. This is the field manual for identifying human bones

Bryson, Sandy, Police Dog Tactics : Designed as a text for training K-9 cops and their handlers. The chapters on detection work - evidence, drug and bomb are packed with info that translates to human remains detection

Burns, Karen Ramsey, Forensic Anthropology Training Manual: This an intro to -as you’d figure - forensic anthropology. Excellent sketches and description to the human skeleton but the most useful sections are on crime scene investigation and field methods

Haglund, W.D., and Sorg, M.H. (eds.); Forensic Taphonomy, The Postmortem Fate of Human Remains: The subtitle says it all! Besides covering about every permutation and combination possible during decomp, there’s good info on topics like drownings, forensic botany and the effects of predation

Koenig, Marcia, Water Searching With Dogs (video) - Step by step program. Lots of good footage of K-9 behavior changes in scent

Rebmann, A., David, E., and Sorg,M.H.; Cadaver Dog Handbook - This is THE book for cadaver dog handlers - an entire training program for both partners between the covers. If you can only buy one book on cadaver detection, get this one

Tolhurst, B.; Cadaver Recovery Procedures for Law Enforcement (video).

Tolhurst, B.; Scent: The Forgotten Evidence (video).

Tolhurst, B.; The Police Textbook for Dog Handlers: Tolhurst has done it all and this book reflects his broad view. About half the book is about detection dogs. The other half is about man trailing with bloodhounds. Explains scent pumps - how to construct and use them.

Expand Your Knowledge!
Extraordinary books - hard to categorize

Boone, J. Allen, Kinship With All Life : A special book. Mostly a truelife story of the 
GSD, Strongheart. It should be on every handler’s bookshelf to keep us aware of possibilities

Clothier, Suzanne, Bones Would Rain From the Sky, Deepening our Relationships with Dogs: Lots of practical info here and the book is worth reading for that alone. But the real reason to own it and reread it several times is to absorb its philosophy. It charts the best road to follow to achieve the ideal SAR dog/ handler relationship.

Mech, L. David, The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species: The best research on wolves in the wild. Helps to understand dog behavior and sort out innate from learned responses

Scott, John Paul and Fuller, John L., Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog: The book that changed our understanding of puppies and adolescent dogs and the adults they become as the result of early learning and breed 

USDA, Fire Weather, Agricultural handbook 360 : Written for firefighters. Gives an in-depth explanation of how weather combines with terrain and vegetation to affect smoke and heat (for dog handlers read ‘scent and body heat’). Great info, but leave it to the federal government to make a dynamite subject dry reading!

Seminars and Courses

Clothier, Suzanne, 1(800)7-fly-dog, web site:
Suzanne offers many seminars on K-9 behavior and dogs as athletes. I’ve been to most of them. Regardless of the topic there is always lots of information on developing a great working relationship with your dog including understanding K-9 behavior, body language, emotion and motivation.

K-9 Specialty Search Associates, PO Box 5100, Kent, WA 98064-5100, 
(253) 630-04444,
Andy Rebmann and Marcia Koenig offer outstanding Basic and advanced cadaver dog courses leading to certification as well as water, air scent , and urban K-9 SAR courses.

Scent Sources and Equipment

Forestry Suppliers, Inc.,  Phone: 1 (800) 647-5368, web site: Great selection of soil probes, compasses, folding shovels, etc.

Search Gear, 882 Bruce Lane, Chico CA, Phone 1(800) 474-2612, web site: Excellent source for search equipment and scent tubes, scent generators, etc.

Sigma chemical company, PO Box 14508, St. Louis, MO 63178, phone: (800) 325-3010, Sigma produces Sigma Pseudo (TM) Corpse I and II (early detection - 30 days or less decomp and post-putrefication detection respectively) as well as Sigma Pseudo (tm) Corpse Scent Drowned victim scent. 

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