|11-11-2015 06:54 PM|
We have been training hard for our level 3 trailing test, (which we passed with flying colors Go Areli!) and cleaning up (mostly me) communication on the trail..
Now that Areli is certified I'm maintaining what we have and aging tracks longer (longest has been22.5hrs double blind; and a 32hr loose retrace of previous unrun trail, known) and working with Akivah again.. The time off has really matured him and thrown his drive into overdrive! He is tearing up the tracks/trails and I think he might be ready to test as early as spring..
I'm taking classes and honing my nav skills, learning more about, well, everything and enjoying the forward progress our team is making in all areas...
What is everyone else up to?
|06-29-2015 03:13 AM|
DutchKarin great story! A little late to that party, but that's great news for the search, I know it must have been frustrating until you learned what they were doing, lol. I am a terrible navigator.. my weakest link is me..
So chatted with an old SAR friend of mine about why I left the team. She said Titan was a rockstar and was really excelling. And she is absolutely right. In the end, after the nipping incident and dealing with some rough times back home, distance was the ultimate reason for me leaving.. That and not feeling connected to the team at times.. She hooked me up with one of her friends on her new team that either is training in my city, or knows people that are training there.. that gave me a little taste again for getting back into things. Still unsure, (mostly confidence in Titan's recall, even though we have been solid with that for so long now since the incident)... but we'll see. It'll have to be after deployment so I have time to think about it.
Hope everything is going well with you guys!!
|06-15-2015 11:50 PM|
Congratulations! Blind scenarios are always the hardest and of course more like real life when you have the pressure of it being a 'test'.. Knowing how to select the best plan of attack for each search is an art in and of its self, imho. So many variables that change constantly.. Sounds like you handled yourself and Tygo well ..
The irony I think is in that, while we all want to certify as fast as possible (being sure that we and dog are ready), the reality is that is when the trail pressure (fear) begins... Your choices really REALLY matter then, and it is possible it is life and death choices... Pressure we train for, but can't actually know until put in that situation... And not just as a navigator or back up, but the actual handler.
Personally, I trust my girl way more than I trust myself in somethings.... She is proving consistently that she knows what she is doing has the drive to do it until the job is done, and loves it... But it will fall on my shoulders when the rubber meets the road. Thankfully, I have a wonderful team that has experience and wants the best for each team member... I'm sure you have the same
|06-15-2015 12:47 PM|
Thought you might like this story.
So I go out to do a mock 40-Acre test yesterday, which is supposed to be one subject and I have two hours to cover the area.. My two sponsors were the evaluators. We were in difficult terrain, not hard, per se but triangular, ending in the mud flats of a reservoir, Draws going east west, high ridge in the center east west, and a light wind coming out of the east/south east (which died after an hour). So the tendency is to want to grid north south from the west to the east but that would be so much up and down. So I muttled best I could. Did north first and worked south, essentially dividing the thing in half and then at times I would follow my dog when he got in scent and change the plan depending on where he took me, I'm thinking I'm making okay time, then it starts to heat up, working the southern part then and I'm humping through the brush and draws and slopes as the time ticks away. I'm thinking I'm covering the area okay but Tygo is getting hotter and hotter, (He drank two quarts in two hours) I'm stumped, with 10 minutes to go I'm very much trying to support Tygo (because I know it is my rather chaotic navigation and not him). TIMES UP... didn't find subject. VERY DISAPPOINTED IN MYSELF. So then we sit down to debrief. When I really look at the area and my track on the GPS I think I covered the area okay. I rated it high POD (probability of detection) if the subject was responsive and wants to be found. Medium to low (since I did not find the subject) if subject was unresponsive and due to the heat in the second hour. So "where is she... in this wide area that was probably 100 meters?" They don't initially answer and I think they are going to take me there to let Tygo make the find, but they changed the subject and we talk about other search strategies. I ask again, is she in this wide path? They smile.... well there was NO SUBJECT!!!!! I called them a bad name in a loving way. They are laughing. BUT it does make sense. They wanted to see me really search the whole area rather than find someone and then walk around to finish the area all relaxed. They wanted to see me work under pressure! They got that! They liked that I supported Tygo to the end and searched to the end. We did a small problem at the end and Tygo got the subject at 150 yards! ahahah
I am the weak link when it comes to navigating inconsistent difficult terrain. I don't get lost but covering the area efficiently is my issue. The one big thing I missed is that it made all the sense in the world to work the southern area first as the slopes are mostly south facing given the terrain. The north 1/2 was mostly north facing. The heat destroyed POD on southern slopes by 11 AM. DUH! God I'll never forget that.
Tygo did not go after the deer although really wanted to and I called him off a chipmunk that he actually had in his mouth and probably mortally wounded it as it limped away. So high scores on that note.
My sponsors are of the ilk that you test when you are ready to be a good searcher and not before. I think I could be ready in August but then the heat makes the testing so iffy. They want me to wait until fall and I get it but still impatient.
|06-08-2015 11:31 AM|
A Dumb handler tricks would be a great thread! I think I'm the Queen at the moment ... I also lost a borrowed radio (thank God we found it) that was camouflage!! Bad day... Haha, lessons learned though
Yes, SAR people are different... Most run from the work, time, sweat, commitment, ick and heartache that can be a part of the job... We run to it.. And pay lots of money for it!?! But it is a rewarding 'job' and desperately needed...
|06-08-2015 10:53 AM|
Well I will contribute.. no formal training for me this weekend due to a memorial service. So I went out to do a 40 acre gridding problem. (I'm a bit worried about meeting the time requirements for up and coming testing). While I think I did okay on it all, that was despite, dropping the GPS and going back for it and dropping the compass and going back for it, ugh.... I need to have everything connected to me or I will drop it. Thank god my dog can help find things.
Nancy cool story on the real deal. On that note, I am joining a county team right now and the sheriff deputy in charge was talking about flagging the "crime scene" if a body is found and defending it from the K9 teams who will all rush in from their respective search areas for a "training opportunity". Everyone laughed, I'm the only k9 handler in this cohort... I wasn't laughing... "that would be a great opportunity."
SAR people. ;-)
|06-08-2015 10:03 AM|
|jocoyn||Scenting the dog on your own scent article. That is a new one! HAHA we need to rotate around a dumb handler tricks aware. If have made PLENTY (we all do!) but that one wins the prize.|
|06-07-2015 10:38 PM|
That is awesome! So happy for you and Beau It is always nice to have your dog prove out their training (and skills) when needed, and of course on difficult trainings. Very satisfying and makes you a proud mama.
We had a SAR conference this past weekend, unfortunately I could only attend a partial day Saturday. However it was helicopter loading and for my girl who is a yr old and started in March of this year, it was her first hot load. She did awesome! Didn't phase her one bit, nor the boat (I think she really liked it, loved sniffing the water...and drinking by the propeller, yikes!) and atv with other dogs... All she did with a typical unflappable Shepherd smile... She has been doing some urban tracks and rocking those out too... Very proud of her...
Have to share a stupid human trick of what NOT to do... I had a track laid out for me at training a week ago and it aged for an hour.. When I was ready to run it I grabbed the scent article and harnessed her, scented her, cast her and set her off.. I had noticed that when I scented her she reacted a bit differently then normal (normally she sniffs, then sniffs a second time like she is imprinting it in her mind. This time she sniffed and kicked her lips...) anyhow, she took me to the start of the track which was flagged.. Now, unbeknownst to me as this was a blind track, but flagged on turns for my benefit and a 1/3 of a mile, Areli wanted to go the correct direction, however, another team was working an air scenting problem directly the way she wanted to go, I stopped her... 3x because I thought she wanted to go to the loose dog... Ugh... X first stupid handler mistake... Anyhow, Areli another 2 or 3x wanted to take me back to the trail and the direction I stopped her from of which I stopped her (argh!).. Finally, my dog in her infinite wisdom figured she had an insane owner/handler and that the day wouldn't end unless she air scented but looked like she was trailing occasionally (so as to keep her idiot handler thinking she was working), and find her subject that way... When we found our subject, she had been watching us work on the GPS (Areli had the collar on) and said we were way off the track... We get back to the cars and she says, "where did you get the scent article from? The back of the truck or the front?" "the back" I say.... Well, I had created my own scent article as I was going to be the subject for her dog on runaways... I scented my dog on my own scent article!!!
Good Lord! I think Areli has a better chance at certifying without me then with me! Hahaha! Wrong scent article, pulled off the track, and then has to air scent and figure out who she is supposed to find... Irony... She was wearing a bandana that says, "I'm smart then most humans" I'm inking in, "including my owner!" LOL
|06-06-2015 09:56 PM|
This week has been a great week. Energized by a search where the find was made on our shift (HRD) and, while the actual find was outside of our area, Beau was allowed to "search" and make the "find" for training purposes. It is training you just can't replicate in a scenario, very hard to come by, and I am glad that after about 2 hours of searching he was perfect. The real thing offers a very different picture to the dog than training aids and it was reassuring to see the whole thing "work" the way it is supposed to.
Training was great today as well though the sudden warm temps and lack of shade in much of the area was a bit rough. A teammate located an area where she set out hides for us about 4 days ago, and we have had several inches of rain during the intervening time. Most hides were old dry bone secured properly (most varmints don't fool with dry bone) and a 16" deep buried small tissue hide and two hanging. She was very creative with setting them. The dogs could only get their nose on one of the 6 hides in the "bone field", the buried was 16" deep and a very small source, and the water problem a small rib bone about 18" deep in the water on the shoreline under an overhanging stump. For one problem the dogs had to walk on a wall, on another the source was deep in a dark narrow "tunnel" and Beau went all the way in turned around and gave his trained response inside the tunnel with no hesitation. A high hide was in a swampy area against a cliff and it had a large scent pool and he really had to work to pinpoint. Of course everything was set as blind problems. Really nice set up to have stuff out and in places where you have to bushwack to work them. Very realistic.
|05-26-2015 05:51 PM|
|Hineni7||She is so lean!! Just like my girl (almost greyhound lean lol).. Awesome pic!|
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