This is Mingo, a young English Shepherd who lives in Boise, Idaho and is a search and rescue (SAR) dog. Mingo lives and works with Leslie . All of these really great pictures were taken by Eric Mundell from Idaho Mountain SAR, Inc. They were taken during a training exercise with a volunteer “lost person”.

During a search Mingo often stops running to evaluate his environment. At these times, he always closes his mouth in order to smell things better. Mingo tracks by smelling the air and narrowing his search area and not by following a scent trail like a bloodhound would.

While searching, Mingo uses a back and forth pattern called quartering. He uses the whole search area until he locates the person’s “scent cone” (Think of the “lost person” as at the point of a triangle, that is the tip of the scent cone. The further away from the person the wider (but fainter) the scent cone will be.). Once Mingo has found the “scent cone” he uses the edges of the cone as borders and narrows his search.

This is Mingo searching. Panting inhibits a dog’s ability to smell, but it is obviously necessary. During his search pattern, Mingo will often run with his mouth closed for a few steps in order to help smell.

Mingo is closing in on his subject. Because the “lost person” was lying down Mingo’s head is down and his tail always goes up. When he first locates the “scent cone” his head goes up as does his tail. After going in to the “lost person” and giving him a big kiss Mingo runs back to Leslie, jumps on her, and barks to let her know she should follow him.