Trouble in parallel searching
So we don't do very many parallel training scenarios. Normally we have one go in and clear the area/find the victim, and report back. Meanwhile, we have a dog in cue waiting for their turn to do the same. If there are 2 scenarios going on at the same time, they are typically in very different locations as to not intercept with the handlers/dogs. While this works very well for training, in a real search I have witnessed very many parallel searches where you may "meet up" at the dividing point but the dog knows where he's working based on you and knows not to go greet the other handler and dog.
My issue is this. Titan is very good at ranging away from me. He doesn't need to stick by my side and with a small "check it out" command he will venture further. I try very hard to not allow him out of my sight but I would be lying if I said it never happens. Most of the time it's when I know he's in scent and I let him work it out. However, he LOVES to greet other dogs and people that seem to be in his vacinity. This includes on the rare occassions when we do train with a parallel search. If he hears the other handler or dog he wants to go greet them and while he is not dog aggressive some of the other dogs are and I do not want him in a situation where he encounters the few that are. Not only that but I want him focused on the search and if intrigued I want him to listen when I tell him to not go greet them.
He has a pretty decent recall. Still working on his recall in some cases when he gets so focused on something he hears nothing I say.. not very often but often enough that I don't like it and I pretty much know the situations he is vulnerable in and do my best not to put him in them.. one being parallel searching. I have started a "too far" command but not sure how to actually reinforce that. I say it and he usually does stop but sometimes he doesn't, I don't think I have properly trained that command, personally.
Any advice on the subject? While I know he will do great when we certify, I don't want him to certify and then get pulled into a real search and end up not listening to me when he goes to greet someone. I hope all that makes sense.. sorry it was kind of long.
Commander Charlie Titan-15 Jan 2010
Gulf Coast Search and Recovery