WOOF is a unit comprised of highly qualified dog-handler teams that are ready to respond to calls 24 hours a day. All are volunteers dedicated to WOOF’s high standards. No team is exempt from training and qualifying as a certified team.
WOOF teams respond to searches in
area (wilderness, rural, urban)
cadaver or human remains detection.
WOOF standards are rigorous and demanding, and must be adhered to maintain handler or candidate status WOOF.
Each team in training must first demonstrate team work through obedience, then pass a test for one of the recognized search disciplines (for the first time handler this is area search), and then may choose to advance to other disciplines of expertise.
Every team must re-certify throughout the dog's working career to be able to continue to respond as a WOOF search dog team.
WOOF teams train at a minimum weekly to continue their proficiency to meet the demands of search work with their dog.
WOOF is a non-profit organization dispatched by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, the Nevada Department of Emergency Management, and county Sheriff Offices therein. In addition WOOF serves county and Federal law enforcement agencies. WOOF is a free service to the requesting agency and handlers respond only to requests from law enforcement. Handlers only respond to search with their dog once all of the qualifications for certification as a WOOF search dog team are met.
Search calls can come at any time of day or night - sometimes handlers don't even get out the door and some times they last for days. WOOF fields handlers in accordance with CA Office of Emergency Service Guidelines for teams that qualify as "type 1" and to Nevada POST K9 Standards. These teams pass challenging fitness and terrain-handling capability tests and search in high altitude environments, unsupported for up to 3 days.
Dropped off in Hoover Wilderness, CA
WOOF handlers are independent, strong, confident, skilled individuals with like-minded dogs. Of importance, they are also are team oriented and can work in multiple functions in any given incident.
We field many different dog breeds, including mixes. We look for dogs with confidence, agility, and high drive for play. Dogs and handlers alike are athletes and are in good physical shape.
Most of all, WOOF handlers and their dogs love what they do, and live to do it.