Ze'eva: Week 2 of SAR - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2010, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Ze'eva: Week 2 of SAR

Well week two was 100% successful for Ze'eva and she did amazing once again. We doubled the length of tracks this week for her and didn't lay treats along the way. The person at the end of the tracks was out of sight and she found the person every time with no trouble, confusion or delay.

Every time after we finish the 5-6 fairly short tracks with her she ALWAYS wants to do more.

In two months or so we should be able to have her off leash and working air scent on a few acres and gradually working up to about 10-15 acres by 8-9 months at max.

Ze'eva Li'ora - GSD 06/26/2010 [SAR/Wilderness Air Scent]
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 09:12 AM
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how old is the dog? I ask because it does not take that long to train an adult
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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19 weeks old. As far as I know it takes a bit longer to train a dog to the FEMA K-9 SAR standards also.

I want her to get qualified and trained for remains also as she would become our only cadaver dog.

Ze'eva Li'ora - GSD 06/26/2010 [SAR/Wilderness Air Scent]
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 01:29 PM
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Great! It sounds like you are off to a good start.

If you have been following the recent "What do you use as an indicator?" thread then you may get some good ideas there on training for an airscent indication. I'm going to echo a comment Nancy made that I think is important:

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Training the indication is one place a lot of people get hung up on and the most important thing you actually "train" Whatever you do get the final indication NAILED and 100% before going any further
I recommend that you heed this advice. Resist the temptation to advance to small area problems before your dog knows exactly what to do after finding a person, whether that part of the training takes you 2 months or 9 months. Once you have a very reliable refind indication trained, then transition to small areas and gradually work up to larger areas.

It typically takes at least 18 months of training together for a wilderness airscent dog team to reach the level where they are ready to take a certification test and can be deployed on missions. SAR dog handlers are usually volunteers who only have organized trainings on some nights and weekends each month. Yes the training could be done in a shorter calender time by training more frequently. But often it is the training of the handler, not the dog, that takes the longest. Even though the dog may be ready does not mean the handler knows how to effectively search through large wilderness areas.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 06:24 PM
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Ok, that is a puppy, be very very careful. I am aware of fEMA training standards.
I will also advise NOT to cross train the dog in human remains detection as well as live find of any sort . Can cause issues. One discipline is much better.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ladylaw203 View Post
Ok, that is a puppy, be very very careful. I am aware of fEMA training standards.
I will also advise NOT to cross train the dog in human remains detection as well as live find of any sort . Can cause issues. One discipline is much better.
Why does it matter if she is a puppy? Doing basic tracking just to get her used to and accustomed to tracking and smelling just human scent won't have any impact in her growth or how she matures.

As a handler and trainer you should know all tracking and SAR is to the dogs is a game.

Ze'eva Li'ora - GSD 06/26/2010 [SAR/Wilderness Air Scent]
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mroutdoorsman View Post
Why does it matter if she is a puppy? Doing basic tracking just to get her used to and accustomed to tracking and smelling just human scent won't have any impact in her growth or how she matures.

As a handler and trainer you should know all tracking and SAR is to the dogs is a game.
I have heard the same recommendation ladylaw gave you from a few people. I believe imprinting on cadaver vs. "live human" is pretty different for dogs and that most dogs find it confusing to learn both types of find. It can create a bit of a mess. I think she's saying to train from start to finish on one and don't do the other. I have heard of dogs doing both, but I think they are kind of rare. I plan on doing SAR and SchH with the new puppy in the works, and we have to be really careful with SAR airscent work versus SchH style tracking.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 12:48 PM
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It matters that she is a puppy to not push her. I have been doing this for a very very long time. GSDs mature especially slowly. I am currently training 8 cadaver dogs for the military that will go to the middle east. they are 12 month old labs and one adapts the training pressure to the maturity of each particular dog. Most civilians have not trained the large numbers and various breeds that some of us have and try to cookie cutter dogs. Too much pressure can shut a pup down. A fact
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 12:50 PM
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I plan on doing SAR and SchH with the new puppy in the works, and we have to be really careful with SAR airscent work versus SchH style tracking.

you are correct. Sport tracking is footstep tracking. What most of us do with working dogs is actually trailing.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ladylaw203 View Post
It matters that she is a puppy to not push her. I have been doing this for a very very long time. GSDs mature especially slowly. I am currently training 8 cadaver dogs for the military that will go to the middle east. they are 12 month old labs and one adapts the training pressure to the maturity of each particular dog. Most civilians have not trained the large numbers and various breeds that some of us have and try to cookie cutter dogs. Too much pressure can shut a pup down. A fact
I only plan on taking it one step at a time and am going at the pace she is learning. I don't plan on being operational with her for about another near maybe. ONCE a week right now we are doing 5-6 simple tracks with Ze'eva and nothing more. The rest of the time I am just working with her getting her ready for CGC and other basic obedience stuff. Lots of play and lots of exercise!

This will be my 2nd dog I have trained... first was an Aussie Shepherd/Lab mix that I trained to track downed deer/game.

Anyways I understand the limitations and understand not to push the dogs especially when they are young. I have my goals and always set them high as there is no reason in my mind to set goals if they are easily obtainable.

Ze'eva Li'ora - GSD 06/26/2010 [SAR/Wilderness Air Scent]
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