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Training with SD Sheriff's first bloodhound Search and Rescue K-9

CBS 8 first met Albert back in January. He was just 12 weeks old, and had just started his training.

SAN DIEGO — Training exercises were held Wednesday in Santee for the San Diego County Sheriff's Search and Rescue K-9 Unit.

Albert, the department's first bloodhound K-9, was among the dogs who took part in several exercises. 

His handler, Pam Medhurst, says Albert's training is going well.

CBS 8 first met Albert back in January. He was just 12 weeks old, and had just started his training.

Though he's much bigger now, he's still growing!

During Wednesday's training, the dogs smelled articles from their handlers, then followed a trail of scent and were rewarded for finding the object or victim in a mock search. Trainers say trainings like these are a great opportunity for the dogs and their handlers to test and advance their skills in residential or neighborhood areas. 

SAR K-9 Unit members all undergo a five-month academy. The dogs meet or exceed California guidelines for search dogs. San Diego Sheriff's say there are 15 dogs in their SAR K-9 Unit. The handler and K-9 recertify every two years.

Volunteers are the driving force behind the Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) Division. They answer the call anywhere in the county when someone goes missing and they do it for free. They also help the Sheriff's Department with evacuations during wildfires, flash flood and other natural disasters. 

If you would like to donate to help the volunteers, click here.

WATCH RELATED: Bloodhound puppy begins training with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department