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Talking Search and Rescue Sport with Melissa Stagnaro

What to listen for:

Today, Robin and Crystal sit down with Melissa Stagnaro, Vice President of American Rettungshunde Sport Association.

She’s here to discuss “sport” search and rescue, or RH: an FCI-sanctioned sport that has many similarities to IGP (Schutzhund). RH is recognized as an ideal supplement to IGP as well as AKC tracking, obedience, and agility. Trials consist of two phases: a search phase and an obedience and dexterity phase. There is no bite work involved in the sport.

Melissa describes how tracks ranging from the beginner to the advanced level are designed for different scenarios, from rubble, avalanche, and water search all the way to man trailing. She also gives her thoughts on training your dog to strike the right balance between obedience and independence.

As Melissa illustrates in today’s discussion, even if you have no plans to compete in search and rescue sport, training RH involves challenges that, more often than not, lead to improvement in your ability to thrive in your operational setting.

Key Topics:

  • An introduction to Melissa Stagnaro and ARSA (00:58)

  • Bringing RH into the United States (07:57)

  • How to learn more about search and rescue sport (15:20)

  • Physical requirements for training and trialing RH (17:32)

  • How Melissa got interested in search and rescue sport (21:34)

  • The surprising speed of progress experienced by dogs training RH (26:15)

  • Obedience and dexterity elements in different scenarios (33:43)

  • Differences between beginner, intermediate, and advanced tracks (36:51)

  • Training your dog to have the right balance of obedience and independence (44:42)

  • Potential new club locations in the U.S. (49:09)

  • Our takeaways (52:05)


We want to hear from you:

Audio editing & other podcast services by: Instagram: @the_podcast_man


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