The Search and Rescue Dog Association Isle of Man has announced a new trainee dog team.

Trainee dog handler Jeremy Theobald and trainee search dog Obi have passed their stock assessment.

Search and rescue dogs, who are on call provide 24/7 assistance with searching for missing people.

A stock assessment is carried out to test that the dog shows no interest in livestock that may be grazing when a search and rescue operation is carried out.

The pair have now completed their stock and obedience tests, making them a trainee dog team.

Following the successful completion of the obedience test, a spokesperson for SARDA said: ‘The obedience test serves as a crucial measure to ensure that our search dog teams demonstrate utmost control and responsiveness.


‘It confirms that the handler has full command over their furry companion, making certain that the dogs will listen to commands and respond accurately in various scenarios.

‘This level of control is vital, especially when we are required to search through built-up areas or navigate potentially hazardous environments.

‘With their successful obedience test, Obi and Jeremy have shown their unwavering dedication, discipline, and the incredible bond they share. It is a testament to their commitment and the rigorous training they have undergone.

‘We have complete confidence that Obi will continue to excel as a remarkable search dog.’

When announcing the new trainee team, the spokesperson said: ‘We have seen them put in a lot of work in the build up to both of these tests and we all look forward to seeing them begin to start on the next stage of their journey to become a qualified search dog team.’

They added: ‘Congratulations to you both, from all of us at SARDA.

‘A huge thank you to John and Fiona Anderson of Knockaloe Beg Farm for the use of their fields and sheep during the assessment and training, it is greatly appreciated.’

According to the National Search and Rescue Dog Association, it takes roughly two to three years for a dog handler and dog to get qualified and on to the call out list.

Training as a dog handler includes hillcraft, navigation and communications.

Handlers are also required to have a first aid certificate, or individuals can be a member of one of the island’s emergency services that form the Isle of Man inland search and rescue group, police, coastguard, fire or civil defence.

Potential dog handlers need to have been a ‘dogs body’ for six months to learn about the organisation.

As a dogs body, individuals need to hide to help the dogs and their handlers qualify.

NSARDA says that all members of the association are involved in the training of each dog, bodies, qualified dog handlers and assessors.

Dog handlers usually train up to two to three times a week.

It comes at a time whereby the charity has been looking to train more rescue dogs.

The retirement of two dog handler teams have meant that there is now only one qualified search and rescue dog, Ruby, and handler Jim MacGregor.

There are now five trainee search and rescue dog teams.

Jim MacGregor, the handler of Ruby and chairman of SARDA IOM previously told Manx Radio: ‘The real focus at the moment is trying to get more dogs on the callout list, because when I am away, there are pressures then, because I need to let the police know that no one is available.

‘If we can get more dogs on the callout then we can start offering 24/7 coverage for the island again.’

To find out more about the charity, ad how to get involved visit the SARDA IOM website: