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An area to discuss K9 Training - Airscenting issues.
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Re: Taz

Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:10 pm

What you need to do is "C" searches with pop up or call outs. You will have to do quite a few because you dog is use to tracking. From what you have written you have missed these out of you training sceme. Sorry if I'm teaching people to suck eggs, but now follows a definition of a "C" search. You face your dog in to wind. You casualty walks out on a curved path the shape of a letter C. The distance is determined by you, the handler. When your casualty gets to the required position, directly in front of you with the wind on their back, they drop to the ground. The dog, if it is any good, would have watched the casualty walk out and marked the position, this is not a problem. You now want the casualty to pop up in plain sight and call the dog, and then drop back down. Immediately the casualty is down let your dog go. The dog will hopefully run straight to the area of the casualty and start searching and you should run to half way between the casualty and your start position and wait. The dog should have no problems finding the casualty, if it does, get the casualty to pop up and call again. Once the dog finds the casualty it should come back to you, ready for the refind. This elimates the dog running tracks. Once it is proficient at pop ups, just use callouts. This is a very brief description.
When I'm training I prefer to use call outs all the time, because it focuses the dog minds. He has confirmation that someone is out there, all he has to do is go find them.
Daryl - I'm supprised you have forgotten the "C" search, naughty, naughty!!

Re: Taz

Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:30 pm

Willy7474 wrote:Daryl - I'm supprised you have forgotten the "C" search, naughty, naughty!!

Willy747 - I didn't forget, if you read my post it describes exactly what you have suggested without using the term 'C Search' 8-)

About C-training

Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:44 pm

I really don't understand why people use such methods. No offence, but those methods are from the 70's, they really are not based in any learningtheories. I have never seen methods like that doing any good. Allmost every dog i've seen, did not find the person (they were basically just teached to run towards the signaling person and search with their eyes, not with the nose) and they ran pass the person. Often if you use huntinginstinct as the base of training, you might get a wild, uncontrollable even biting dog as a result. And where did i hear that from? from a professional trainer from iceland, who was amazed that we use barking dogs, becouse they usually BITE the person. Sure, they might, if you hunt the persons from the forest. Thats not how we do it and we have had very good results.

Training like that will only make the dog become agitated, and that reduces the dogs ability to smell. The obvious target is to train the dog to work relaxed, using all its senses. I think that excercises like that really underestimate the dog. You don't need to signal the dog, it does not haveto see where your going, you dont haveto jump up and down: if you haveto, the dog is not that good.

All dogs learn to search. If you plan the excercises carefully right from the beginning by placing the persons both upwind and downwind in the same excercise, for example on both sides of a path in the forest, puppy will learn right from the start that 1) it should search at both sides of the handler. 2) it will learn to search with airscent and trails, and in its on pace, without agitating the dog.

Teaching the dog to use the airscent doesent haveto be so complicated. You place the person in the area that is full of scent (stumped), hide the person and face to the wind wen beginning.

Re: Taz

Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:45 pm


You have some interesting points!

Where do you learn your skills from? When I learn't, I learn't from books. The only ones that were available were the ARDA Manual and Ready! I woul;d guess from your comments that you are aware of these books?

So how would you start off a dog? What would be your first training session for a new doog to the team?

Re: Taz

Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:17 pm

I will use barking do as an example, becouse thats what i know best :geek:

First things first: its good that the dog knows how to bark at command before beginning the training. When you do so, the dog will know right from the start what to do and that will reduce the possibility that the dog will leave te person in future. Why? usually, when dog comes to it's puberty, it will become alittle bit silly. Or, if the situation is new, exciting or something like that, its the same thing: in unexpected situation, dog easilly will create some "additional functions", like smell the ground, start suddenly playing with sticks, act like the person does not exist, or run from person tu person without signaling. In those cases the dog normally chooses an action that it has learned the best (for example when puberty-aged dog suddenly starts to leave persons and run from one to another, its most likely the case that the dog has been tought to seach before signal). If the signaling is very strong from the beginning, it reduces the possibility of false signals or even leaving the person.

So. The dog is tought how to bark. With food. It's a good motivation and easy to bring to the forest.

We dont use things like "sausagering", thats how its called in finland. People gather at a ring, sitting down, and the dog runs from person to another, taking treats. And what are we teaching really? to leave the person. So not that.

We begin with 1-4 persons in the forest, not far, but still so far away from each others that the dog does not see straight from one to another. The 'thing' is: handler goes to the forest with the dog like they would be going for a walk. Peacefully. Not interupting. Just walking. When the dog notices the person and comes closer, it's praised, treat is given when the dog arrives and then the person asks the dog to bark, teasing it a little with the treats. After every bark the dog gets rapidly a treat. After the handler arrives, praising the dog, the person gives a big treat to the dog (we use catfood! dogs love it!).

After that we continue the walk. And repeat this. It wont take more than 1-3 practices when the dog begins to search actively the persons. Then we start to think about the alignment. Upwind, downwind. But mostly it wont even be a matter, becouse the dog runs freely without interuption from the handler, and it's allowed to make its own choices and search for the smell on their own. Locationing becomes more reliable after many practices.

When the signaling is reliable and strong, we start the conditioning to different types of persons. We usually begin from sitting persons, then standing, then moving, acting, some might be picking berries, some having lunch at the forest, reading, smoking, sleeping, persons in a tent..
and always using the 'middletreats' after every bark when teaching something new, like walking person.

The big treat must be something the dog LOVES! something that makes the barking worth it. And there should be a lot of it.
The handler must always support the dog, encouraging the signaling dog, trusting it. So the dog will trust the handler that no harm will happen to the dog: its safe to bark, it's ok and safe to make decisions. THe dog should feel as the greatest, the best dog in the whole world after it finds.

We never use techniques that heats the dog up. THe dogs never see where the persons go, and we teach ourselves to trust our dogs from the beginning by not knowing where the persons go. So we will not teach the dog to always follow us, they should have the courage to decide to go other way it is the right way to go. We never show the dogs where to search, we are not the ones with the nose, we are the ones with the map.
So we dont point the goalpersons. We dont interrupt. We call the dog only if its reeaallly neccesary.
The goal is not to teach the dog to run straight forward in the direction we show. That's show-off and has almost no use in real situation. The goal is to teach the dog to find the smell and the source of it, on its own, and leading us to it, not so that we lead the dog to the person. We just haveto trust and support the dog.

Re: Taz

Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:33 pm

And oh yes, i am So bad at english, hopefully u'll get the point :oops:

Re: Taz

Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:03 am

Fedelia wrote:And oh yes, i am So bad at english, hopefully u'll get the point :oops:

That's OK. Your English is a million times better than our Finish [blush]

Re: Taz

Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:58 am


Good techniques and similar to that used for collapsed structure i.e. Dog must bark at the missing person to get it's reward.

How would you train the dog to alert the handler by not barking at the missing person?

I ask as this is the most commonly used technique in the UK.


Re: Taz

Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:54 pm

I am teaching my dog to do a refind, this is after teaching him to bark (BIG MISTAKE). I discovered that it terrifies the life out of some kids and people to have a dog they don't know standing barking at/near them, it also taught my dog that he thought he could bark for any reason whatsoever, ie: for his dinner, treats, go for a walk, for attention, and worst of all at the ice cream man for an ice cream :oops: (He had found his voice) he was once a nice quiet dog. He is again, but it has taken a lot of time and effort to stop him.
He was a working gundog but is now being trained up solely to do search and rescue, I had already started the refind training with him, when I took him out working one night and sent him for a retrieve, he went out searching for it, came back empty mouthed, but indicated that he wanted me to follow, he did the most fantastic refind "on the duck". If nothing else Cheshire will be OK for finding "ducks".

Re: Taz

Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Joe wrote:I am teaching my dog to do a refind, this is after teaching him to bark (BIG MISTAKE). I discovered that it terrifies the life out of some kids and people to have a dog they don't know standing barking at/near them

This is one of the reasons why in our team and in some teams within LSDogs we prefer dogs to not bark at all. If the dog really has to bark, we try to get the dog to complete a refind and bark at the handler only.

There are so many other things you can teach your dog to do to Alert without needing to teach them to bark!
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