"Fide canem" is Latin for "trust the dog".
It is also the motto and mantra of many search dog handlers. And one of the hardest lessons to learn.
fidecanem.ca celebrates and explores the training, techniques, and tactics of search dogs and their handlers. It is focused on urban search and rescue (USAR) and ground search and rescue (GSAR) profiles, including cadaver or human remains detection. Other topics, such as dog training fundamentals, book reviews, and the occasional touch of humour, may also be of interest to other working dog handlers and pet dog trainers and owners.
So, is it really as simple as putting blind faith in the dog's natural abilities? Sadly, no. The dog does know how to use its nose to search and track. Our job is to help them focus and harness those skills for our particular purpose.
The maxim only holds true if the dog knows (and enjoys) his job. And if you have confidence in the dog. This can only be achieved if you have confidence in your training, and in the tactics you employ during actual deployments.
There needs to be a strong relationship between dog and handler. One of mutual trust and respect. It is just as important that the dog has confidence in the handler. The successful search dog's motto needs to be, "trust the handler." Which would probably sound very cool in Latin (or dog).
Working with a dog can be a humbling experience. Get used to the idea that you will likely be the weak link on the team. And remember, "trust the dog"...