Not sure how I would do this - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure how I would do this

So my air scent SAR dog Tilly ranges far and wide when she is working and would like to train her NOT to run into a paved road without me being there. It is my biggest fear with her because when she is searching she can easily get well out of sight and she has already left me by a quarter of a mile when she hit odor.

Many years ago, I had a friend with a dog who could walk offlead all over a city and would do just that. Dog would run like a banshee everywhere but once it got to a road it would sit and wait.

So it is less of a SAR question than a general question. Has anyone done this. Her ranging is an asset for searching as she can cover a lot of terrain in a short time. I already have to face the possibilities of her otherwise being hurt in the woods by other animals and this is just the way it is but being clipped by a car, if it could be prevented......

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 11:22 PM
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Maybe an easier thing to train is car aversion? I mean, avoiding roads can be confusing because what if you want her to cross a dirt, closed forest service road, or a farm road that has no traffic? How do you tell her one road is OK, the other isn't? What about driveways, parking lots, etc?

You don't want her to be freaked out by cars, but to have a healthy avoidance of them, in other words, to learn some traffic sense. You do see this in savvy wild animals and in some cats.

I wish I knew how to train this. It would be well worth it for any dog or even cat to go through if effective. I know how to train porcupine and rattlesnake avoidance but that is pretty different than training traffic safety.

How do seeing eye dogs learn traffic safety? They know to avoid crossing a road with moving traffic, I think? I thought about looking into this in the past but gave up as nobody seemed to know, but I'm sure someone has some good thoughts on this, I'm just musing.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 03:36 AM
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 09:48 AM
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PM Fodder on this board.He trains seeing eye dogs.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 11:21 AM
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hi, thanks for the suggestion as well as the PM, it makes perfect sense as to why I'd be asked however unfortunately I'm not sure I have the answer but I will explain our process which may help spark an idea since I am not familiar at all of how SAR dogs work. I will also check with a couple of colleagues who may be able to help brain storm.

during guidework basics, the reason the dogs do not enter the street is simply because they are taught to target a series of down curbs (as well as upcurbs). they stop because they've been rewarded there. that's the easy part.

traffic training is seperate but I suppose complementary as it ties everything together and solidifies their holds and awareness while at the curb. the dogs may have any of the following responses depending on the threat of the car - stop, back up, speed up or refuse a command if it's not safe to do so (intelligent disobedience) which it sounds like that's the response youre after but it's the most difficult to train. keep in mind - dogs can be dropped from our program for being too sensitive to traffic as well as too bold, so the training is not sure proof at all for all types.

disclaimer: it'd be irresponsible of me not to point out that I'm posting for educational purposes, not as a recommendation. our drivers are licensed guide dog mobility instructors and specifically trained to drive traffic routes.

initially the dog is 'conditioned' meaning a route is completed where the dog is approached by a mildly threatening car in a variety of situations (street, sidewalk, driveways, etc) and through the use of collar cues - we basically show (pattern) the correct response... some dogs start to catch on during this route... others have no clue - route is evaluated and a plan is formulated for the subsequent training route.

during traffic training, a route is performed a week later in a different area, sometimes a different vehicle and in a different sequence. we are looking for the responses to come more naturally to the dog... lack of response is received by a consequence which the vehicle provides (driving towards them, cutting in front of them quicker, etc) and it varies depending on the temperment and learning curve of the dog - both driver and handler are reading them. the intelligent disobedience portion of this happens when the dog is asked to go forward when it isn't possible and quickly praises for holding their position.... this exercise progresses to times that it's possible to go but not safe... if the dog advances, so does the car and so on. again, the route is evaluated and a plan is devised.

about 3 weeks after this training - in addition to traffic "naturals" that can be encountered/practiced on regular routes (cars coming out of drive thrus, making rights on red, etc), the dogs are given a traffic route in which the handler is blind folded - again, different area, different sequence, different vehicle.

before going home, this route is also performed with the blind individual to which the dog is being placed.

so all in all..... a combination of ongoing evaluations in controlled settings.

I hope that provides some insight...
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Last edited by Fodder; 08-11-2016 at 11:26 AM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 11:24 AM
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Maybe Garmin Alpha? ? You can upload maps and give a correction from a pretty good distance I think. Perhaps teach the dog an emergency down stay out of sight from an e collar cue if you see her approaching somethjng dangerous on the map. I have researched this collar but j don't remember what the lag time is between what your readout is telling you the location of the dog is and what the actual location is. So...if you see the dog headed for a road you might have to stop her well in advance to be sure.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Fodder View Post
hi, thanks for the suggestion as well as the PM, it makes perfect sense as to why I'd be asked however unfortunately I'm not sure I have the answer but I will explain our process which may help spark an idea since I am not familiar at all of how SAR dogs work. I will also check with a couple of colleagues who may be able to help brain storm.

during guidework basics, the reason the dogs do not enter the street is simply because they are taught to target a series of down curbs (as well as upcurbs). they stop because they've been rewarded there. that's the easy part.

traffic training is seperate but I suppose complementary as it ties everything together and solidifies their holds and awareness while at the curb. the dogs may have any of the following responses depending on the threat of the car - stop, back up, speed up or refuse a command if it's not safe to do so (intelligent disobedience) which it sounds like that's the response youre after but it's the most difficult to train. keep in mind - dogs can be dropped from our program for being too sensitive to traffic as well as too bold, so the training is not sure proof at all for all types.

disclaimer: it'd be irresponsible of me not to point out that I'm posting for educational purposes, not as a recommendation. our drivers are licensed guide dog mobility instructors and specifically trained to drive traffic routes.

initially the dog is 'conditioned' meaning a route is completed where the dog is approached by a mildly threatening car in a variety of situations (street, sidewalk, driveways, etc) and through the use of collar cues - we basically show (pattern) the correct response... some dogs start to catch on during this route... others have no clue - route is evaluated and a plan is formulated for the subsequent training route.

during traffic training, a route is performed a week later in a different area, sometimes a different vehicle and in a different sequence. we are looking for the responses to come more naturally to the dog... lack of response is received by a consequence which the vehicle provides (driving towards them, cutting in front of them quicker, etc) and it varies depending on the temperment and learning curve of the dog - both driver and handler are reading them. the intelligent disobedience portion of this happens when the dog is asked to go forward when it isn't possible and quickly praises for holding their position.... this exercise progresses to times that it's possible to go but not safe... if the dog advances, so does the car and so on. again, the route is evaluated and a plan is devised.

about 3 weeks after this training - in addition to traffic "naturals" that can be encountered/practiced on regular routes (cars coming out of drive thrus, making rights on red, etc), the dogs are given a traffic route in which the handler is blind folded - again, different area, different sequence, different vehicle.

before going home, this route is also performed with the blind individual to which the dog is being placed.

so all in all..... a combination of ongoing evaluations in controlled settings.

I hope that provides some insight...
Thank You! That is a tremendous amount of insight! I've often wondered how "traffic awareness" was done??

My guys are under control and do the default stop at crubs but I can "see" that they have "Zero Car Awareness."

If I said "OK" they'd step right out there car or no car, it's all the same to them! If they saw a car and I did not and I stepped in front of it ... they'd follow!!

It's not that big a deal for average "Pet" owners I suppose but SAR ...dogs yes, lack of "Traffic Awareness" could be a serious issue!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the insights

I like the idea of part 1 - stop at "curb", well curbs are an oddity down here but asphalt to grass is not. Which sounds like a lot of repetition-basically stop and stay at curb until released (I will only let her cross a street on lead) and not worry about traffic awareness until we become fluent in that.

I guess kind of like having her know that when I open the crate in the truck she has to wait until I release her. [which she learned quickly by having the crate door shut in her face]

Car awareness - it may take awhile to do part 1 before going to part 2.

This really hit home when I was working Beau on a busy street and the police had a car behind me with blue lights on. Beau is good with verbal control (and he is not scanning outside of visual range) but cars still thought nothing of going around the police car then picking up speed......I actually told the officer I was going to have to work him on lead (I did not have a long line because I did not realize we were going to work the highway when we went out) because I really did not want to take that risk...on secondary roads I have worked him between a road and a river with nothing but a whistle and human flankers slowing down traffic..but for her, she may well be out of sight and bell range.

Nancy



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 04:36 PM
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our dogs are taught on all curb types (raised, flat, wheelchair ramps, country roads, with and without truncated domes), flat curbs are obviously more difficult but over time they do learn to generalize. in your situation I'd probably even incorporate a down at the curb - I feel dogs hold downs better naturally.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Makes a lot of sense. Dog can down for a loooong time

Nancy



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