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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-13-2014 01:03 PM
jocoyn I do not train down to that level to be honest and would make that as a disclaimer. There are specialized dogs who do work at that level (bleached walls, etc.), but my typical lowest level is one tooth or a q-tip dipped in blood.

If we got a call for that kind of search I would refer them to someone who does. I don't want a dog hitting on towels because towels always have dead skin on them. We don't train on hair or fingernails or semen or urine or feces or even menstrual products (though a dog may hit on the latter).

I would be scrupulous about not having such things where a dog could get to them.
03-13-2014 11:13 AM
Bequavious
Quote:
Originally Posted by jocoyn View Post
A lot of SAR dogs are rescues. Figure many are just downright crazy hard to live with dogs that are "too much" for most pet homes and do wind up in shelters. Not all. There are certainly dogs with the talent for SAR who are not that way.
Yeah there's a pit bull on our team and one guy was shocked to hear he was an owner surrender because he's so good at his work. Of course he'll practically kill himself trying to get a ball and I have yet to see him really settle lol! He's perfect for his handler, but definitely not the perfect couch potato dog

On another note (and as I said, I'm just getting started so I'll probably learn a lot of this when we really get into training), when the dogs are so keyed-in to even the slightest trace of HR, how do you keep them from constantly alerting on meaningless things around your house? I mean I know right now there are probably traces of blood in my kitchen and bathroom and possibly in my living room and backyard. If the dog alerts correctly, you want to reward him, but you also never want to reward him for a false alert and since you have no way of "seeing" what he is alerting to (unless it's something obvious like a tooth or something you know the location of such as a training aid) how do you verify its correctness and thus maintain consistency?
03-12-2014 10:23 AM
jocoyn A lot of SAR dogs are rescues. Figure many are just downright crazy hard to live with dogs that are "too much" for most pet homes and do wind up in shelters. Not all. There are certainly dogs with the talent for SAR who are not that way.
03-12-2014 10:14 AM
crackem I'm sure I could find a dog in a shelter to train in SAR, I'm also pretty confident that that not just any old dog will do. Lots of people say they do SAR, same as they say they do IPO, or Ring sports or Agility. Some really do, and some just showed up for a meeting once and everything in between.

I'm sure it is a huge time commitment and it does take a pretty good dog to do it well. I'd say if someone has certified and been thru some of the rigors and passed selection it means something. I think half the people that dog on SAR would get lost looking for other people they're supposed to find. Wilderness SAR isn't a joke, everyone can be at risk when you're covering those types of terrain in such a vast area.
03-12-2014 08:43 AM
jocoyn A similarity....I know some Europeans train WITH pig because of restrictions on training with human remains. Apparently we are similar in odor to pork. With our feral swine problem over here it would be a disaster.

Conetoe man bags 500+ pound Bertie County hog - WSPA

Here is a link to a Scientific American Article based on the peer reviewed odor study (baaawk baaaawk). No we actually train with chicken as a non human source....as well....lot of dead chickens too, especially around a farm. Don't want dogs to find dead chickens either.

One Day, You Will Smell Like a Dead Chicken | Dog Spies, Scientific American Blog Network
03-12-2014 08:34 AM
carmspack do you think with this "The article mentions pigs and we can even share body parts with pigs " he was talking about pig to human organ transplants, so a similarity in scent?
03-12-2014 07:40 AM
jocoyn Some of the things that are unique to HR work are consider that over 400 molecules are common to human decomposition odors and in varying concentrations. The typical drug has one or two key molecules. This complexity of odor means one has to do a lot of work to ensure the dog can distinguish human remains from all other remains and even some plants. Then there is the factor of age. Dogs can be trained to find ancient remains.

The article is good. I don't agree 100% with everything in it but that is par for the course you will find. Lots of opinions out there.

The article mentions pigs and we can even share body parts with pigs but believe it or not, there is some recent research indicating that we may smell more like dead chickens than anything else. In any event you have to go to great lengths to train on the full spectrum of what is human and what is not so that info is in the dog's "catologue". It is actually an area where older, more seasoned dogs, add a lot of value. People do all kinds of whacky things like bury a body in lime, bury a body under animals etc. It don't work. .

It gets tricky because, rightfully, once a body is found the dog's don't typically have free access to "work the body" as you don't want to destroy evidence. So we usually drive great distances to work at universities such as the WCU FOREST who study human decomposition in a natural setting, etc. In my dream world, each state would have a repository for training aids that all the teams could train on. It is just not uncommon to drive 4,5 or more hours just to expose a dog to a specific source.

I was at a seminar where most of the dogs properly selected the towel that had been soaked in blood and washed in oxy-clean and bleach to the point where there was no visible clue and then the very same dog is expected to find a complete human putting out a lot of odor.

We are going to the advanced seminar and bone ID workshop at WCU in May. It is funny to go on a search and see people get flustered when dogs the walk right over deer bones or pig bones because the people think they are human. There are lots of bones in the woods. Nothing will ruin credibility faster than *finding* deer bones and calling them human. On my first trip to WCU, the dogs had to "find" the enclosed area in the woods. They had to work through a vehicle containing dead chickens, and a complete and very pungent dead black bear to get to the relatively subtle (at that point in time and relative to a complete bear) human odor.

This is also a group who searches for historic remains, a specialty niche
Institute for Canine Forensics | HOME

We, like others, have a policy of not talking "about" specific searches. Sometimes I might post something in a newspaper but most HR work is not something an attention seeker wants as it is done as quietly as possible and as out of the eyes of the press as possible, both out of respect for the family and because any search could be related to a police investigation that you don't want to mess up.

Where people do a disservice is to train a live find dog on small bits of very old HR training aids, then think that dog is proficient to find a whole human body, recently deceased or to work a complex site*. I believe it is possible to successfully cross train a dog but it is a LOT of work and requires the right dog and the right handler.

*Think a body buried on a hill has both odor coming out of the bury site but also filtering down into the ground water and going downhill - also the longer something is out the odor carries great distances and settles in shady areas etc so that the scent pool can be very fragmented. Working problems that have been out for days is very different than the often used problem that may only be a few hours out, if that.
03-12-2014 02:58 AM
Blitzkrieg1
Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
Oh I totally agree. This person is full of something and it certainly isn't brains.
Yea I was just talking to someone like that recently, I know you feel.
03-12-2014 02:56 AM
RocketDog
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
hear this all the time "Someone here just "informed" me that SAR is not difficult at all; they could find any lab in a shelter to do it. what a joke."

joke right back to them and tell them to get lost -- then see if they are confident in being found by "any lab in a shelter" .

unfortunately there is an idea that SAR is something for the dog to keep busy , a hobby activity.
Oh I totally agree. This person is full of something and it certainly isn't brains.
03-12-2014 02:17 AM
Blitzkrieg1
Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
Someone here just "informed" me that SAR is not difficult at all; they could find any lab in a shelter to do it. what a joke.

.
Thats CRAZY TALK!
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