Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern California
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...
TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
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Last edited by Fodder; 08-11-2016 at 11:26 AM.