Follow Us On


No, SWSD is not a social club. It is a volunteer group of dedicated, working K-9 Search
and Rescue handlers that support San Diego Law Enforcement with the location of
missing, lost, and abducted individuals.

From experience, we have determined that medium- to large-sized dogs that fit the AKC
classifications of herding, sporting and hound have the most success with search and
rescue. Mixed or pedigree, it doesn’t matter, however, SWSD is looking for dogs with
good “prey” instincts.

Recommend dogs be at least one year old. Dogs can continue to work as long as they
pass recertification(s) every 2 years.

Basic obedience is necessary. Through our training process dogs achieve AKC Canine
Good Citizen, along with SWSD certification(s). Dogs must not act aggressively towards
adults/children. At all times dogs are leashed and or under the control of handlers. Dogs
are not permitted to play or interact with other dogs.

Our teams are called out 3 times a month on average and duration of each call out is
approximately 3 hours.

SWSD expects that certified members respond to Call outs, which are received on a
24/7 basis. In addition, maintain mission-ready status by attending at least 3 trainings
per quarter. We have a team work ethic, all members are expected to help and support
their colleagues.

Yes, absolutely. We welcome non-dog handlers. There are opportunities to assist with
trainings and searches.

No fee for training, however SWSD has annual dues for all team members which are
less than $100 per year.  Members are required to purchase their own gear, depending
on their assignment.

Each training session is about 2 hours.  We provide about 6 training opportunities a
month.  Each team member is expected to participate in a minimum per month. We are
looking for new members who have the time to train with their dog, which may require
12-18 months of solid effort.

Certification may take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on your level of
experience in reading your dog and the time spend training.

Yes, you are required to secure your own equipment. Initial expense after membership
is approved: SWSD uniform shirt, dog harness, long line, treat bag, water source, then
upon being certified you must obtain additional items, include First Aid supplies. You
must also be able to safely transport you dog with the necessary restraints in your

Yes, every two years the annual physical fitness requirement is a 5-mile hike with an 8-
pound pack.

Because of the nature of our work a check may be undertaken. Law enforcement may
also require a background check.