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Old 06-20-2014, 06:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Which path to take?

Recently I was asked what exactly it is I want to do with Vader. The Chief asked if I wanted to do Cadaver or Air Scent. I wanted to ask the more experienced what their opinions are. I'm interested in Cadaver, but I also think Vader might be good at trailing. We previously had a dog that was trailing before the handler left the team.

I'm still a Rookie and inexperienced but we also just got a request for K9 water teams. I'm sure these are questions I could ask the team, but being a younger girl they already treat me differently so here go my questions:

How do I tell what exactly he'd be good at and what would be good for us as a team? When we are training he rarely keeps his head up and mostly glues it to the ground with minimal head lifts to change direction.

Would a dog that is obsessed with water and swimming be good at water rescue?

I feel like I should know this after a year of attending functions and team meetings, however it's been difficult to get my feet under me to get a running start.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Being a young girl, who was on a team for about 3 years.. I can say that I understand completely what you mean, lol.

Have you tried any training yet with him? On air scent or cadaver? When I started on my team, they didn't ask.. so at least you have an option. They start everyone off on air scent and move on if they aren't progressing. If you haven't tried either.. just my opinion, tracking or air scent might be a starting point.. I say try out one or the other and see how he does.

There is nothing wrong with not knowing yet if you haven't been working your dog. You really don't know.. in my opinion, what your dog is good at until you try. Have you done any scent games? Have you tried any tracking games? Those might be places to start. You can always as your team lead if he can help you decide because you aren't sure. I hope you are on a team that will actually help you and not belittle or judge you.. I have been on a few of those.. hence why I am no longer there.. LOL.

Good luck!! I'm sure more experienced members will comment.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm glad someone does! Some of the members are amazingly welcoming, the older handlers absolutely are and one in particular will stand with me while they gossip and explain to me what's going on. But I still appreciate the boards input more as people who like to take the time to help.

We've done basic cadaver work, bare bones basic. The first was a walk through to see if it perked his interest and the other was to have him find it and ignore an animal body close by. He seemed to enjoy it and was very interested in the find both times. Since he couldn't come to training until he was evaluated I've been doing find games with him that hopefully haven't been counter productive. At 9 weeks we started with the basic "find mommy" and that evolved into just regular "find" with other people. I've stepped up the distance each time, making him find the hider further and further or behind more complex puzzles. Scent games I've tried. I've tried hiding a treat in my hand and making him pick which one it was. That worked as a puppy, as an adult he seems bored with that and doesn't even try. I've done the hide a specific toy filled with something yummy and told him to "check" like for the cadaver training. It didn't work as well as I had hoped, he just walked over and took it and laid down to chew. He seems to get more entertainment out of the real thing than he does smaller find games. He'll even sigh at you and make sounds that I can only describe as caribou like if he isn't truly stimulated.

I don't know if I'm doing something wrong. Since it took a year to get him evaluated I've been doing a lot of stepping out on my own and reading to try and do the things I think will progress him. I don't think my team normally asks. During his eval the lead assumed he wouldn't be advanced enough to do the cadaver or the agility and I guess we surprised him, so that makes me feel like I've at least been doing something right.

I appreciate any input from the people who've been in this longer than me (which is essentially everyone)!
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