How to reward a SAR dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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How to reward a SAR dog

So we've all heard the prejudices about Schutzhund Dogs and that they are not good for Search and Rescue. Now I've read that playing tug with a dog leads to prey aggression, dominance and to a dog that puts pressure on the helper to get what he wants. And it doesn't matter if you use a tug or a rope or a ball to play tug with the dog. It's potentially dangerous and wouldn't teach the dog anything at all.

I strongly disagree. Isn't that what we want? A driven dog that we can reward with a ball? Isn't it what we want that a dog is actually lookin forward to the reward to get them what we want them to do on a positive basis until the search itself becomes a reward? Isn't that kind of desire needed?

And what else would we use as a reward? Our voice? Food? And would that really be a powerful reward to keep the dog wantin to work for us? That may work with some breeds but don't we have to keep it fun?

Since I'm here I've noticed that especially food dogs (in SAR) are frowned upon because the reward is just not powerful enough and if the dogs lack prey drive they ultimately may lack hunt drive as well.

I come to the conclusion that there is a huge difference between the cultures of how you train a SAR dog and the kind of rewards that are being used.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 05:47 PM
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I've never heard of that explaination as to why food rewards aren't good. It's always been explained to me that it does not create enough 'subject loyalty' because ultimately there is very little interaction.

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 05:51 PM
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I've heard that food just doesn't create an intense enough positive association to create/build/sustain strong search drive in any sort of extended searching (wilderness, HRD, drugs) -- although for the little customs beagles, I guess it works well enough (but I think that's how they get every meal--through searching).

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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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That is what I think too. That food is just not powerfull enough as a reward. Now beagles or bloodhounds may actually be different but I think that a ball or a rope, for a prey driven dog, is much more powerful than any food. Food has it's place though.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 06:25 PM
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Sandra I think you are making broad generalizations based on interactions with a very limted number of SAR folks on the internet and I presume in the real world.

Maybe you should just train, certify, and deploy a dog and not worry too much about these things first. Also do not put so much faith in one or two people. For every SAR guru out there I can find you 15 people telling you what is wrong with them.

You need to take what you can from your mentors and come to your own conclusions based on real life experience.

In terms of those who argue against bite trained dogs; I have never heard anyone same say a tug or ball play is inappropriate...that is what most people want...that is what most teams push for during selection testing..

What I have heard (cocerning bitework) is the concern that a dog will revert to its first trained behavior. That dog is out of your visual range when it finds that person and if they run from it or swing at it unless you can tell me 100% that that dog will not take off after and bite the victim I do not want to take the risk. The other is an insurance clause. You are doing ringsport with your own dog which will put the behavior in even less of a stylilized formulatic approach than schutzhund. For someone who rolls their eyes and goes "not again" when something is rehashed why do it again? This argument is constantly rehashed in the SAR community and there is a very small representation of that community on this forum.

Concerning food. Not my cup of tea However, I have seen some very food motivated dogs who have made several real world finds. I have been doing SAR since 1999 and am still of the opinion there is much more to learn and am not in a position to judge everyone else. Should we tell those people to dump their family members back in the woods because the K9 find was invalid because it was a food driven dog? Most of the food driven dogs I have seen succeed seemed to be best at trailing. JMO. That is just what I have seen. I think some dogs just like the hunt.

Either way, why not just choose the ball/toy driven dog for yourself and keep your eyes open and be objective to what you see and give yourself some years to come to a conlusion..

Nancy



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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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I have never heard anyone same say a tug or ball play is inappropriate...that is what most people want...that is what most teams push for during selection testing..
That is what I thought too, however it was a german custom officer that said that they abandoned the tugwork a long time ago because you can't train dogs with tugs at all and it would only create problems down the road.

I am reading, not arguing and I thought it would make a great discussion on here.
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Ein Zerrspiel ist für mich ein Kampfspiel.

Beutespiel führt bekanntlich zu beutemotivierten Aggression, Bedrängung, Dominanz stärkend um nur einiges zu nennen.
That's the definition. Playing Tug is a "Fight game".
Prey games leads, knowingly, to prey motivated aggression, pressure and builds dominance, just to name a few.

I already came to a conclusion because building a SAR dog is not that different from building a Schutzhund. I certainly don't know it all but a reward is a reward, whether it is in obedience or SAR or the Jackpot in Tracking an it has got to be powerful.
The dogs have to work, you have to build the drive and building the drive, whether for Schutzhund or for SAR is pretty much the same. Training the dog is the least of the problems. Learning how the wind works, how scent pools work, where you find them and how to recognize them that's something no one ever really talks about.

As for Mentors, I do have my Mentors and listen to them but that doesn't mean that I am not reading magazines, lectures, books or other open sources.

Last edited by Mrs.K; 08-14-2011 at 06:47 PM.
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 06:57 PM
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select the dog that has the strongest most durable search drive and the reward will be the hunting and searching itself.

genetic obedience.

no herder will determine the instinctive need to keep sheep under control by playing ball , denying the ball play until the dog herds , and then rewarding with ball play.

herding instinct dogs will demonstrate a controlling bossiness for order and a draw to sheep from the time they are babies .

dogs used as messenger dogs going many miles fulfill the same requirements.

conversations with a Swedish military k9 handler, friend of mine, revealed an exercise where the dog was tested by needing to do messenger , reconnaissance. The dog would be accustomed to working with a pair . One member would go forward with the dog . The dog was sent back to "camp base" , back track , and find the other member of the team who surely had not been sitting there in one spot for the day or two. The message was delivered. A response, acknowledgement written and the dog sent away again to deliver to the other member who has now departed from the spot.

the dog needs to go back to the area , and from there pick up the trail and find the handler.

all this was done going through farm fields with livestock, being bribed by goodies , and even open gunfire , mock military training .

the dogs were timed .

people really need to get back to the sensibility that was around when dogs were truly partners in work , before the operant conditioning , Pavlov, Skinner etc etc.

I was surprised by the french ring thing too. More so that bite work came so early in the game . French ring is much much more than changing a bite from sleeve to leg .

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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 07:03 PM
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[
Mrs K said---
I already came to a conclusion because building a SAR dog is not that different from building a Schutzhund.


It sure is . Maybe not in the day when schutzhund type training was a civilian duty so that dogs were on hand for military use . NOW, definitely not . SAR tracking , trailing and schutzhund trialing tracking are not even in the same category.

SAR allows the dogs to make errors , part of the thinking and finding . Schutzhund demands a very formal format , correcting the dog to keep true to the foot print although the scent is deposited yards away.

Carmen
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
select the dog that has the strongest most durable search drive and the reward will be the hunting and searching itself.
I believe that that is the one thing that pretty much everybody is striving for. That if it isn't the reward itself in the beginning that it becomes the reward later down the road.

Quote:
I was surprised by the french ring thing too. More so that bite work came so early in the game . French ring is much much more than changing a bite from sleeve to leg .
It's the very beginning and we've only been there a couple of times. We want to get a little more into it possibly even achieve a title.
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 07:09 PM
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you miss the point , it is the reward right from the beginning.

once again you miss my point -- you are at the very beginning , you have been there a couple of times and you are already doing bite work.
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