About Us

Our History

Cpl. Jim Galloway was the first RCMP Dog Handler to agree to train and work alongside civilian dog handlers in Edmonton. In 1995 he became the RCMP coordinator for the newly formed RCMP Civilian Search and Rescue Service Dog Program. In 1999 our name was changed to the RCMP Civilian Search Dog Association and finally in 2006 we became the Canadian Search Dog Association.

Jim opened a door for us that had previously been closed. He freely shared what he knew about dog training and searching. All he asked for in return was that we never give up trying. Regardless of what happened, you were not allowed to quit. Without his enthusiastic participation and support we would still be scattered, independent teams struggling for respect. He showed us how to do things the “RCMP” way:

    • Be confident
    • Do the job quietly and competently
    • Do your paperwork
    • Keep it professional
    • Train, train, train and train some more
    • Always aim higher

Jim never simply helped. He poked, prodded, cajoled, demonstrated, demanded and he yelled. He inched the bar ever higher and continually challenged us to meet it. Jim also laughed often and loudly. He was our friend, mentor, advocate and defender. He treated us like friends and equals. With Jim around we never felt like we were just “civilians”. RCMP officers sometimes referred to us as “Jim’s Team” and we were proud of it. His influence and the example he set for us will continue to guide us in the future.

On February 23, 2004 Jim lost his life in the line of duty. Although we lost a dear friend, we gained a new family. Knowing how important CSDA was to Jim, his family has carried on supporting our team. Thank you hardly seems adequate to express how much we appreciate everything the Galloway family has done for us before and after his death.

The CSDA will proudly carry on the legacy of Cpl. Jim Galloway.

Our Goals & Objectives

The Canadian Search Dog Association is a provincial, non-profit group of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time, energy, and resources to help carry out the following objectives:

    • To generate a group of trained search workers and trained search dogs to aid the RCMP and other authorized tasking agencies in their search for lost or missing persons and/or evidence required by such agencies.
    • To supply these civilian workers and their dogs with necessary resources to enable them to provide optimum assistance to the tasking agency in their search efforts.
    • To operate a province-wide organization to coordinate and develop these services.

Our primary goal is to help save lives. We do this at no cost to requesting organizations or the communities we serve. Specially trained teams of dogs and handlers undergo rigorous annual certification testing and ongoing training in order to maintain their status as an active team ready to respond 24 hours a day.

Handler & Canine Information

Both dog and handler are trained over a one to two year period. Experienced members of the team help the newer handlers as they work their way through a planned training progression from an initial orientation session through their certification. Some new handlers come with a background in dog training and some do not, but as the team works through their progression they gain new knowledge and experience. Not all dogs and handlers make it to certification, but hopefully all feel a well-earned sense of accomplishment.

Training a dog for any type of detection work is really unlike any other type of dog training. It’s not difficult if the dog has shown it has the desire and ability to do the work. Individual characteristics of each dog, however, usually dictate the exact training style and the amount of time it will take to reach certification level.

Teamwork and respect are important aspects of an organization such as this, so it is essential that the individual dog handler fits in with rest of the team. We look for hardworking, dedicated people who are willing to work with others, have a sense of duty to their community, and an underlying professionalism that will make them a valuable addition to the team. In addition to the dog training, all members are expected to pitch in and help with all aspects of the organization.

We work for free! We are volunteers. We do this for our communities, for the challenge and for the opportunity to put our training to good use for the benefit of others. We do this for the love of working with our dogs. There is no doubt that it can be fun – but a search is a life and death situation that demands a level of care, competence and professionalism equal to that of the paid professional.