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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: South Carolina
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Our cadaver training at the FOREST in WCU

I dont' think I ever gave an update on the training at the FOREST (forensic osteology reserach station) in Cullowhee, NC and WCU.

It was very good training - Much of the scent training was basic area, building and vehicle searches but the biggie was, of course, being able to work inside the fenced area with 6 bodies in various stages of decomposition as well as good exposure to adipocere which is sometimes hard to get.They had such an overwhelming response, the goal is to have one in the Fall as well. It is well worth the money and the hotel they found, though old, was cheap and adequate and they only charged the dogs $5 a night, handlers were $55 but you could double up and they did not charge more for extra people!

It is very very very important to NOT mess this up if you go! No pictures, complete respect for the remains, etc. This is an incredible opportunity for the volunteer handler to get access to real bodies decomposing in a natural environment unless they are the "first one in" on an actual search - as any found body is automatically assumed to be a crime scene. They also plan to bury some in shallow graves

Got to proof off of a novel new dead animal, (black bear) Actually on the way to the fenced in area we had to go through an area with pits containing carcasses of a variety of animals covered by pallets (hahaha Grim loves Pallets so he was totally oblivious to the scent of the animals but just *had* to walk over them, and a bus containng a chicken. They actually allow the dogs to work offlead right up to the fence and around the fence which was cool! It was onlead inside the fence.

I was very pleased to NOT get a trained response on the fringe and that he was not overwhelmed. I did, however, have to prompt him to give his trained response on the first body as he was so into the odor he forgot to sit. He definitley noticed it-pulled me straight to it and, all but one of the dogs pulled their handlers to the same body when they went in. He corrected himself on the other bodies though.

We also got to assemble a skeleton and had an inservice on distinguising (visually) human bones from animal bones - including various child bones etc.

I think you would get the most out of this seminar with a basic to intermediate dog with a solid passive indication (active will not be allowed in the fence) - even though the problems were basic though, it is always good opportunity to train blind problems with other people and there were fresh larger scent sources that are sometimes hard to find. The trainers also knew how to set up problems to create interesting challenges [it reinforced my understanding of why you close a door in a room for instance]

I was terribly pleased that my work on slowing down Grim on vehicle searches has paid off and I got compliments at how well he worked. I still need work at working clockwise around the cars but am good with counterclockwise.......But realized I definitely need work when the car is in difficult terrain.......little things like that. Also got some complements on his area searching (I have worked on getting him to keep his nose lower by a lot of training with small bones)

Definitely excited about getting my next cadaver prospect, hopefully soon - definitely within the year as things are, after a few years of doing this really starting to come together in my own head.


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