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  • Writer's pictureScott Sabo

Joining our team as a volunteer hider.

Updated: Mar 3

We often get asked by folks how they can become involved and volunteer with Kitsap County Search Dogs. One of the best ways to start as a volunteer with our team, is to join us as a hider. Dogs are unique in that they remember "everything" they smell. To increase our dogs' performance and maintain their skills, we often try to give them new scenarios to practice. In the real world, when we are called out for a missing person, the area and person they will be looking for, are both new to them. To replicate this in our weekly training we try to find different training locations, and get new people as hiders. This way we can examine our dog's behavior and make sure we are seeing any difference in their body language that might need to be refined to make sure we are doing our best when the time comes for a real search.

Joining us as a hider will also let you see first hand what all we do and what all will be necessary if you are thinking about becoming an active K9 search and rescue handler. There are 3 disciplines for K9 search and rescue:

  1. Area: We are looking for any human in a large area i.e. a missing hiker out in the woods.

  2. Tracking and Trailing: We are looking for a specific person. We know where they were last seen, we have a scent article unique to the person we are looking for ( a piece of clothing, the car they were sitting in, etc.) and we are looking to follow the path their last known location, in hopes that it will lead us to them.

  3. Human Remains: We are looking for someone who is believed to be deceased, crime scene evidence involving a person, etc.

As a hider, you will have the option to choose which team you want to hide for each week that we train. We train every week, throughout the year unless we have an active mission or other activities that might prevent us from holding a training session. As a volunteer, you can choose to join us when convenient for you to do so, you're not required to come to every training. So if you do not like sitting outside in the rain or snow, only when it's sunny and warm, that's okay. It's also a great way to see some of the many outdoor hiking areas Kitsap county has to offer, that you may not be aware of.

If this is something you are interested in doing, all you need to do is let us know. You can fill out our contact form on our website, message us from our Facebook page or simply email us at

From there, we would add you to our hiders group email list. Once you accept, we'd send you an email each week letting you know time and location for that week's upcoming training. If you want to join us that week, all you'll need to do is send a reply message to the training lead, for whichever team (Area or Tracking/Trailing) you would like to hide with.

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