Be a SARDA Dogs Body

Help as a ‘Dog’s Body’

Dog’s bodies are always needed

  • People are always needed to act as ‘missing’ or ‘lost’ persons.
  • Search Dog training would be impossible without the assistance of our “Dogs Bodies”.
  • These people, aptly named, go out in all types of weather and lie on the sides of mountains, in ditches, in hedgerows and even up trees for hours on end, so that we can train our dogs to hunt and find human airborne scent.


Requirements and recommendations

  • You will subscribe the ethos of Search and Rescue, giving of your time freely and willingly in the interest of others.
  • You will need to be over 18 years of age, physically fit, enjoy outdoor activities and provide your own outdoor waterproof clothing and walking boots as footwear.
  • You will have your own transport.
  • It goes without saying that you will be a person who likes dogs and is comfortable interacting with them. Bear in mind that SARDA’s dogs are very friendly and you may be in for a good licking when they find you!

If you are willing to help us in this way then please contact us by filling in the contact form at the bottom of the page.

You will have fun, and learn about working a search and rescue dog at the same time!


Children and Family

Children do not enjoy long periods of helping with the dogs – they get bored! So if your family wants to come along make sure that another responsible adult is with you to look after any children during the day. They may be happiest going away to some other activity



You should not bring your dog with you when you start as a body. You will need to body for six months before you would be considered for training with a dog.


What you have to do

Each handler will give you full instructions as to what is needed for their individual dog.


Experienced dogs

Initially you will be asked to act as body for experienced dogs. These dogs will find you and return to the handler to indicate their find. Likely all you will need to do is keep still until the handler joins you after which they will instruct you as to how to reward the dog.


Novice dogs

As you become an ‘experienced’ body, you will start to take a more active part in training. You will be rewarding and encouraging the novice dogs by play or food reward when they find you, and handlers will ask for your feedback on how the dog behaved. You will start to learn how the search dogs are trained.


Please bring with you:

  • Walking boots
  • Outdoor waterproof clothing (please remember this is Ireland)
  • Sun protection
  • Insect repellent
  • Packed lunch
  • Mobile phone if you have one
  • Something to read or listen to (with earphones) while you are waiting to be found
  • An enthusiastic, but patient temperament!


SARDA will provide:

  • Bivvy gear
  • Radio communication equipment


Come and give it a try

Why not come along for a day to one of our National Training weekends, perhaps near to where you live, and see if you enjoy working with the dogs.

The bodying period also allows you to experience what a real casualty may go through and also the way different dogs find you in relation to the wind and where you are hiding. This is also a good time for you to decide whether or not training to be a SARDA dog handler is for you.

Then, if you have ‘caught the bug’ help us in the future to build up SARDA’s service to the public.

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