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MBSD History

Monterey Bay Search Dogs, Inc (MBSD) was Founded in 1988 by experienced Search and Rescue residents of both Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Our organization prepares handlers and their canine partners to be effective participants in searches for missing people.

MBSD teams have successfully participated in wilderness, suburban and disaster searches throughout California and the nation. Our teams are fielded at the request of local, state or federal agencies.

Find out more about the Monterey Bay Team and read their Bio's here.

MBSD Unit Programs

MBSD members meet every weekend for training and mutual support. Training locations vary from week to week and alternate between the wilderness and disaster disciplines. Candidates are accepted year round and proceed at their training pace independent of other teams with weekly goals set by the training director.

At the weekly training sessions, new handlers are taught how to train their dog. Skills introduced at training's are then practiced during the week on an individual basis. MBSD uses positive reinforcement training, utilizing toy and food rewards.

Each handler is expected to acquire the necessary search and rescue skills to enhance the team's effectiveness on missions.

MBSD presently trains and prepares teams in two search disciplines, Wilderness and Disaster. Dogs trained in these disciplines do not scent discriminate. They will alert on ANY person they locate. Basic skill for both of these disciplines include obedience, direction and control, handler and canine fitness, and agility.

Most new handlers will need at least two years to certify in one of these disciplines; however, after certification, training for both the handler and the dog continues on a regular basis to keep their skill level high.

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In Wilderness, dogs are taught to range well away from their handlers and follow on any human scent they discover until they locate the missing person. Due to the nature of wilderness training handlers must be skilled in the following:

  • Human and Canine First Aid
  • GPS Navigation Skills
  • Map and Compass Skills
  • Back Country Survival Skills
  • CA OES K-9 Guidelines
Theses skills can be gained through other groups and agencies.

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In Disaster, search dogs locate the scent of victims trapped in collapsed structures. They indicate they have found someone by getting as close to the person as possible and barking.

Certification for these teams is done through federal testing. Skills for this type of training will be obtained when you are accepted by a FEMA task force as a dog handler.

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