How far do your Area dogs range? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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How far do your Area dogs range?

Kaio and I just got accepted as a (pre-apprentice) team in training for CARDA in California. We are also training with the San Luis Obispo team. We're loving it. Kaio should be certified in Area and C2 in another 18 months.
How far do your dogs range while working? I'm curious because Kaio ranges about 1/4 mile-1/2 mile at times and everyone I train with says that is really far especially since he's only a year old right now. Anyone else have dogs that range like that?

Taylor

Dogs have a lot to communicate to a person who is willing to listen- Susan Butcher
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 02:29 PM
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

I am a terrible judge of distance, but I would say that Holly ranges only about a hundred yards away at the farthest. I probably wouldn't mind if she went father, as she wears a bell when she works so I know where she is, but 1/4-1/2 mile seems like quite a large area. I think it just comes down to what you are comfortable with as a handler.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

That seems to be about what most of the dogs on our team do-100 yrds. I am not trying to brag, it just seems unusual that Kaio ranges so far. We do have one other dog that ranges up to a 1/4 mile or so. He just gets so far away that I can't even hear his bell half the time. I know he's working because he comes back 15 or 20 minutes later and alerts (we don't use bark alerts at the subject in CARDA, the dog has to do a refind) I just wanted to see if that was normal or what. Or if anyone had any ideas on how you still communicate with your dog at that kind of a distance.
Thank you for your response, I am still pretty new at this and a little unsure of myself yet.

Taylor

Dogs have a lot to communicate to a person who is willing to listen- Susan Butcher
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 07:48 PM
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

No problem I agree that, if you're going to have a dog go that far off, a refind is probably best in terms of communication. My only fear with having Holly go too far to hear the bell is that, if she alerts (her alert is a sit), I won't know and won't be able to find her. But, as you mentioned, a refind would solve that. I've often thought that it is better to have a more independent dog than a less independent one. It's easier to reel them in than it is to send them farther off, IMHO.

~Emily~

Bella — 4 year old black Lab mix
Jaga — 4 year old GSD, CGC, TDI
Hollandia vom Landholz (Holly) — 2 year old GSD, CGC, NNDDA SAR (land cadaver)
Oliver — crazy cat
Jake — ball python
and the fishies

Kodak, 3 year old Chihuahua/terrier mix, RIP
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 07:55 PM
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

I'm hoping the more experienced folks will weigh in here because I was only on a team for two years, but IMO, I do not think ranging really far is a good thing. I'm not sure how far Grace typically went - I'd say more than 100 meters but less than half a mile. I need to look up how far half a mile is in meters. She was often out of sight but not gone for long stretches of time. She was trained to do a bark indication and refind and that part of it isn't hampered by further ranging, but you're going to miss a lot of other information if your dog is a mile away. Many times your dog catches some scent but can't trace it to the source or doesn't even try because it's so fleeting. If you know your dog and are paying attention you may see these alerts and can note where they occured and the wind direction at the time on your map. That kind of information can help find someone because it tells search managers where to concentrate even if your dog doesn't actually locate the person. You operate as a team working together which you can't do if you can't check in with your dog.

Also just in terms of dog safety, I would not want my dog super far away. There could be roads, downed lines, and goodness knows what else. During the time that you're training, you have absolutely no way of knowing if the dog is on task or if they're crittering or what is going on so no way to reinforce the behavior you want or correct what you do not or just see how your dog tackles the problem.

How long are you going without visual contact with your dog?


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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 07:25 AM
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

I do cadaver which is a form of area search and I don't want my dog outside of visual or auditory range while working an area. If I don't know where he is, I don't know what he covered or how he covered it. Or what body languages he may have shown in an area meriting further work.

I got my dog to range a little closer by switching direction [walking away from him when he got too far] when we were our working. He kind of got the idea that he had to keep up with where I was too so now he still goes out pretty far but keeps in touch.

Now once he hits scent, all bets are off. And that could be a good distance away.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

Usually if there is a place that Kaio gets stuck on scent he will come and get me and "herd" me in the direction to the place where he lost scent or is having a hard time, he is typically gone for up to 15-20 minutes depending on the problem. It's almost like he is doing his own hasty search. If he doesn't have scent he returns to me in 5-10 minutes and will stay nearer until he has scent, then he's gone again. He has not crittered yet, we train in the riverbed and on ranches where animals are a constant. I have had lookout's before who were placed in high spots to watch for me to see if he continues to work or if he does critter, and so far he just works like a horse.
I usually will do a perimeter as Kaio is doing his "hasty" and if he finds the subject he will return, alert, and refind staying closer to me to lead me to the subject. If he doesn't find them, he will return and either lead me in the direction that he had scent or he will stay near (within 100 yrd's) and continue to search until he does have scent, then he takes off.
I worry about roads and things of that nature, but am concerned with curbing his ranging, as it has so far led to quicker finds that some of our more experienced dogs that do not range as far. But he also has a "contact" command which is his signal to check in with me and make eye contact.
Any way to find a happy medium?

Thanks so much for your input, it really helps me out.

Taylor

Dogs have a lot to communicate to a person who is willing to listen- Susan Butcher
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

Usually if there is a place that Kaio gets stuck on scent he will come and get me and "herd" me in the direction to the place where he lost scent or is having a hard time, he is t

Taylor

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 07:17 AM
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

Lexi has always ranged well out of site and sometimes out of audible range of the bells. I taught her the command "with me" which means I want her within eyesite. If she has been gone a while I will call this out and she has always returned close enough to make a visual, if she is working out a scent pool or an area that she has scent in she will spin around and head back giving me an opportunity to head in her direction.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 09:01 AM
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Re: How far do your Area dogs range?

How large are the problems you're working right now? My guess would be that while this technique works well for smaller problems that always contain a person, it's going to be trickier on larger sectors that may or may not have anyone in them. That's where being able to see his body language is going to be key.


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