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Old 04-29-2014, 03:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Air scent ranging question

My air scent/wilderness SAR dog in training Diego ranges very well. In fact, he actually is out of sight/earshot for 10-15 minutes at a time. He isn't great about checking in with me (obviously ) until he has actually found his subject.

Any advice as to how to address this? I know ranging is good, but in the event of an emergency I need to be able to call him back, which means he actually needs to be paying some attention to me in addition to searching for his subject.

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Old 04-29-2014, 06:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What your dog sniffs - air or ground - shouldn't be so important to you, unless the object of search is hidden in the canopy. He shouldn't pay attention to you during the search and be totally self-motivated. It is you who should be fast enough to follow him, though, it all depends how fast your dog moves. For instance, my dog ia moving slowly and working the gound surface thoroughly while performing a grid search, and I don't have any problem following her. But, my instructor's dogs are very fast, she is using two of them at once, they dissapear out of sight only they were cued to search, but they don't run away too far and always come back asking their handler to follow them. You have to train your dog doing that.
When your dog finds the object he must take you to it, i.e. return to you, jump on you or indicate some other way, and with the command "Show me" take you to the source. This technique is called a "refind". Don't use a large square to start training. Hide the container with the scent at some tree, mark the tree with a red thread (so you know exactly where it is hidden), come to the area the next day and ask him to search a short distance before you approach that tree. When you saw your dog indicating clearly at the object , stay where you are and reward him with the clicker. Then call him to yourself, fondle him, ask "Show me" in exciting intonation and cue to search again - this time follow him dirctly to the hidden object. Reward when you come to the object yourself. Repetition after repetition, finally your dog would learn this last step of search.
The troubleshooting here mainly with the handler, not with the dog, the handler has to learn to believe the dog when he alerts and react properly, because you never know where the object is hidden during a blind search.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Neo, you have a great team who can probably give you more help than I know I could, but I hear you. I like to have a dog ranging within visual /auditory range until it hits odor to give me a good idea of coverage and being able to read/hear changes in body language and see dangers.

I am pretty sure the OP's team has helped build the foundation of a trained indication before working larger areas.

Since airscent and cadaver have a so much in common:

Beau got his natural boundary control basically built as a puppy by many many many off lead walks in the woods with me and Grim, but he still pushes out too far sometimes. I have taken to some control with a whistle to turn him from a boundary if his body language says "scan mode" not "on odor" of course to do that you have to have a good read on the body language to know the dog is no in odor. In odor he runs the game.

The whistle is working very well for me because it is sharp enough it to "register" . I am keeping it simple. One tweet for "look at me for a direction*" and two tweets for "come" I also am working on a long trill for down right now.

*which is normally a sweep left or right. It was beautiful at this weekends' training where there was a void in our coverage of an area and I moved him right into it .
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with Nancy. A whistle, I use my mouth, can bring the dog "back to you" mentally without being a recall. I like a dog to check in periodically so I can keep them in productive areas. If I don't give a directional command, I expect the dog to carry on immediately.

When working training venues, I build the idea that the dog has to keep me in sight unless on odor. It'd different with different dogs because you need to keep the independence there. Lots of ways to work it, and it's highly dependent on the dog as to how I choose to approach it. I would say your best bet is talking to the team and setting up venues to work on this specific issue.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The whistle is a great idea! I use one with my USAR dog. But also when out hiking. Not as much a need for reigning in a ranger on a rubble pile. But it is quick, clear, and will break through quite a lot distance.

It's a tough problem though. If the dog is too far away, you won't know if you are pulling them off scent, flip side, if they are so far away they could be barking(indicating) scent and you have no idea it's happening.

I would work with a whistle away from training and scent. Do it on hikes. Well first teach them what it is. Then work during hikes and down time. When hiking if he gets too far away you can call him back with a whistle. Hopefully doing this will instill a "safe" distance from you that does not earn a whistle return.

I use the same as Nancy. Two tweets for "come" and a big long single tweet for "stop and look at me"


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Old 04-29-2014, 08:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes, we have been doing our whistle training away from the search field. Good reminder. The come was very easy to institute.

I bought this one. Acme 640 double dog whistle cheap on Amazon. I can whistle a tune but I can't give a good loud whistle with my mouth. Figured I wanted something at a different pitch than the Fox 40s most of us carry.

http://www.acmewhistles.co.uk/xcart/...7&cat=3&page=1

Hahaha I played it on the computer and Beau dropped his toy and just stood there stared at me
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Whistle is a wonderful thing in training recall, but it is good only if you know that your dog searches in vain, so to follow to the next square with the map. But what if you don't know where the object is hidden, but your dog has caught the direction the scent was coming from? You'd distract him in his search by whistling and turning somewhere else away from the place he wants to go. If you recall - you want him to say something to you. Lucy jumps on me if she knows the direction and I'm too slow, and she stands and waggs her tail low in apologetic manner if she found nothing. Training your dog on long leash proved too difficult for me in the areas with dense forest and bushes. So I started in a small square area when the dog can find the object quickly, I can see her indicating, and only then recall and ask to take me there.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I use cheap orange ones from Lion County hunt supply!!! You are all fancy!!!LOL.

With my lab, the "sit and look" was started during obedience. So when heeling, at the stop, the dog should sit automatically. Once you have that down, when you stop "one good tweet on the whistle" soon the dog learns to associate that sound with sit. The whistle is used extensively in hunt dog training. There are a few great sites that can walk you through training the whistle sit and recall.


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Old 04-29-2014, 09:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Taggart View Post
Whistle is a wonderful thing in training recall, but it is good only if you know that your dog searches in vain, so to follow to the next square with the map. But what if you don't know where the object is hidden, but your dog has caught the direction the scent was coming from? You'd distract him in his search by whistling and turning somewhere else away from the place he wants to go. If you recall - you want him to say something to you. Lucy jumps on me if she knows the direction and I'm too slow, and she stands and waggs her tail low in apologetic manner if she found nothing. Training your dog on long leash proved too difficult for me in the areas with dense forest and bushes. So I started in a small square area when the dog can find the object quickly, I can see her indicating, and only then recall and ask to take me there.
If you can't tell when your dog is on odor, you have far more to work on than ranging.

There is a huge difference between "back" and a recall.

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Lucian - Med Alert (Cane Corso)
Pud - the old man (Pit x Lab)
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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David (Taggart), that is why you need to be able to read your dog. So that you won't call them off of odor unless they are in danger. But, during scanning, I will call my dog to me during a search for forced water breaks, body temp checks, and cooling rests.

The more typical approach most wilderness teams use is to train the recall-refind sequence before actually doing any real odor work so that it is built into the "muscle memory" of the dog and it is second nature. USAR handlers often use a bark indication on the pile, Cadaver dog handlers typically use a passive indication and some use an aggressive one like a dig.

The Fox 40 is cheap and so is the Acme 640! I paid $6.40 for mine on Amazon and added to an order to get free shipping.
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Last edited by jocoyn; 04-29-2014 at 10:05 PM.
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