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DutchKarin 02-04-2014 02:12 PM

Starting to integrate Alerts... Ideas?

Mini Background: 8 month old Dutch Shep doing short blind searches well and has a consistent Z pattern. Neutered Male and a bit too dog oriented in a friendly lets rumble sort of way. We are CARDA members soon to be elevated to apprentice level where the real training starts. This is my first SAR dog.

I wanted to do a people bringsell for obvious reasons (powerful dog) but I have been both talked into and self reasoned into a jump alert. Super easy to train "hit me" as a cue to jump up. So I just started this week integrating it into the Z pattern. We have backed up to short runaways and he is being cued to jump on me, then "show me" and my sponsor has recommended approaching slowly or going off track to get a "yo-yo" on the alerts. I am thinking that since I get a few instances where he looks at me unsure about the alert that I should skip the yo-yo for now and just do a few short runaways until I see that he "gets" it... it being the alert in the Z pattern.

Any other thoughts for now?


NancyJ 02-04-2014 02:45 PM

We encourage to build the indication in sessions separate from actual search work and basically do a lot of repetition to build 'muscle memory' as it were....actually we get that down first with a lot of runaways or using back chaining.

In any event, agree with your choice of indication as the bringsel has some unique problems in heat and in heavy brush. .. and you can keep the jump low (like having the dog target your hip not your chest) with a big concern being that you don't want to stop and stand when you see the dog coming as that will cue the jump and be a necessary part of the chain. You may be still and braced for the jump early on but in the future you want the dog to hit you no matter how you are moving or being stationary.

I would get it fluid with out the "yo yo" and only proceed to multiples after the has the chain down solid, as you proposed and then the dog will start to offer it naturally.

Also, one thing that often breaks down is the actual jump on you because the handler lets the dog get sloppy and they wind up coming by and doing a fly by or just looking at the don't let it break down..need the indication each time. If it starts to fall apart shorten up, give some kind of reward (for that a bit of food is ok if they will take it) to bridge the gap -You may get the same issue when you start doing "yo yo" with the dog not going all the way into the subject - once again - don't let that break down find a small bit of something really yummy. I am working on the assumption your dog is toy driven for the "big reward" when you, the subject, and the dog are all together.

DutchKarin 02-04-2014 04:29 PM

Thank you Nancy!

Interesting point to not stand there as it becomes part of the cue! I have been wondering about this from another perspective too. In agility, turning into the dog is a natural body cue to slow the dog down and have them look at you, turn in to you, and often stop. I have seen dogs come in to alert (indicate) with others in training, then the handler stops, and dog then stops and look at them for direction or with confusion. The conclusion is that the alert is not consistent enough and to take steps back to work on foundation but I also wonder about the impact of the body cue.

I will focus on the short runaways first with intermediate reward and then when he has it solid start moving around or in different directions.

NancyJ 02-04-2014 04:49 PM

Yes, I actually wrote a lengthy post in "finding a trainer" which includes how subtle inadvertent cues can impact the dog and this is one obvious one. I learned it the hard way but fortunately in a training scenario. Your other training comes in handy!

It is like training the detector dog. YOU cannot be a part of the decision for the dog to to give the indication. There have been searches where the crew was sitting drinking some water, checking maps and talking, and the dog makes the find. If they are not used to indicating on you while you are sitting on a log or walking or walking through a creek etc., then you may miss it...and we all know how poorly dogs generalize..They don't always come running at you from head on..sometimes it is from behind.....sure you can usually read the dog but when they are wore out from searching for 3-4 hours they may just look like they are coming back to you to check in.

EDIT-you should be in pretty good hands with some of the CARDA folks I would think...

dog27 02-04-2014 11:29 PM

She said "people bringsel", not just "bringsel". The people bringsel is what some call a tug toy attached to the handler. This is quite common and is what I use. The bringsel is a strap attached to the dog which I have read historical accounts of but don't know anybody that uses it today, probably for the reasons you mention. It would be a shame to dissuade her from a more suitable alert for her powerful dog based on that misunderstanding. Otherwise, great advice as usual.


Originally Posted by jocoyn (Post 4964258)
In any event, agree with your choice of indication as the bringsel has some unique problems in heat and in heavy brush.

DutchKarin 02-05-2014 12:19 AM

Hi Jonathan.

I did think through all the alerts and while I started with a people bringsel as you describe, the jump alert has been so much easier to train. Ah well, I will it a go. ;-) While I don't think it will last , Tygo has been jumping on me quite gently. It is kind of funny.

And Nancy I did read that post on "finding a trainer". Great stuff there.

dog27 02-05-2014 02:06 AM

My preference for the tug indication vs jump comes from many searches where we need to make our way through nasty terrain. Trudging through swamps, climbing over and under piles of blown down trees, scrambling along steep hillsides, getting stuck in blackberry bushes, etc. Because of this I am often in situations where I either don't want a dog jumping on me, or to do so would be hard for him. It is nice to have a trained indication where he can just bite the firehose on my side. Yes jumping up is easier to train, and if more open areas are typical of conditions you expect to deploy in then it may work out well. But don't be surprised if you find yourself in situations where your dog can't or won't jump up as you have trained. With experience you can learn to read your dog and the circumstances and make the right call even without the full indication. But I think it is more reliable to have an indication that the dog can easily perform even in difficult conditions.

NancyJ 02-05-2014 06:34 AM

Yes, you are correct. I visualized only one thing when I heard bringsel and missed the "people" part of the phrase. All your reasons are why I don't really care for a two paws on the chest crazy alert and like to target lower

It does seem harder to train with the tug on the handler......not sure why other than often a higher toy drive dog does not want to let go and food motivated dogs often don't want to bite it .... and, like sitting or barking at the handler seems to shift gears in their head.

It may be similar to the issues I have had with the out with my cadaver dog, and really have to break the sequence down more effectively so the dog learns 'you have to let go of the tug to get the tug' and take it out of the obedience to a command way and make it more natural. It would make a good thread (hint hint) to know how you train it. Several people I know who have started that way have wound up moving to the jump on their own out of frustration. A well trained and reliable tug is very good for the reasons you mention.

One thing I will say with certainty. Figure out the indication on the dog early and don't change it around later. A lot of dogs have been messed up with the handler constantly changing and tweaking what they look for.

Train for 100% reliability but in the real world you follow up on something less when a life is involved,. You also need to train long problems so the dog expects to work to the limits of its "nose time". Long problems, night problems and training in all terrains...

David Winners 02-05-2014 09:41 AM

1 Attachment(s)
This is really interesting. I'm intrigued by the bringsel indication.

I found this article. The short section on bringsel training is on page 12. It's not very detailed, but I can see how they train it. Something I'm going to try.

David Winners

DutchKarin 02-05-2014 03:45 PM

David, here is a video of a mal using a bringsel indication

Well I will stick with the jump alert, however I think the "people bringsel" is a very good way to go. We don't have as much swampland here and if all goes well, I hope to be able to qualify for the Yosemite Dog SAR, YoDogs. Then I can work above 7500 feet in Wilderness areas. That would be cool.

Thanks everyone.

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