Small step back... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Small step back...

Well in the last couple weeks Titan has taken a step back.. sort of. He was doing awesome as we were continuing to increase the complexity of the search from small area searches to larger ones with a little more distractions. But last weekend was the 3rd time I had seen him do this behavior, and so now it's being worked and we have to take a few steps back to train it out.

Basically Titan is finding and alerting on the scent cone rather than laying eyes on the actual person, then when I say "show me" to lead me to the victim, he brings me to the scent cone then tracks the person in. I know in a real search that is fine as long as the person is found, but for training and certifying purposes it is discouraging.

What do you guys think?

v/r,

Whitney
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:29 AM
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Well it is hard to diagnose without seeing but I will tell you what I have seen in the past. The show me is a cue that he has learned to wait for. You are going to have to train him to go straight to the victim without waiting for that secondary command. Back up ,lose the show me. A dog needs one search command not two:-) . What is his reward?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Well how he is trained.. and what we have had success with is the initial command "search" while he's working there are other various commands "check it out" while pointing at something or in a direction. Then when he finds the victim he comes and alerts me by sitting and barking and then I say "well show me!" very excitedly and that means to take me back to the victim. Then once he gets me to the victim there's lots of praise and he gets to play with his special toy specifically for SAR. the reason we use "show me" is because it's different than begninning the search. It's essentially the "refind" command. and all our dogs do very well with it. He has been great just resently only been alerting on the scent cone instead of the person itself. Then once I say "show me" he takes me to the scent cone then looks at me and I say "show me" again and he tracks them in from that point. Indicating to me he never had the actual person in the first place.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:48 AM
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To me this kind of situations are actually a sign of learning. When you are working on the mechanical phase of an exercise, basically repetition, repetition, repetition... everything seems to work smoothly, but when the dog starts to really understand what is asked from them they start to look for shortcuts. As Renee pointed, you must be careful not to inadvertently reward those unwanted behaviors. Titan may be "training you" to give the second clue.

I'd also like to know what is the reward and also what kind of alert he is trained to do.

But doing be discouraged, it's all part of the learning process.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 01:50 PM
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Well how he is trained.. and what we have had success with is the initial command "search" while he's working there are other various commands "check it out" while pointing at something or in a direction. Then when he finds the victim he comes and alerts me by sitting and barking and then I say "well show me!" very excitedly and that means to take me back to the victim. Then once he gets me to the victim there's lots of praise and he gets to play with his special toy specifically for SAR. the reason we use "show me" is because it's different than begninning the search. It's essentially the "refind" command. and all our dogs do very well with it. He has been great just resently only been alerting on the scent cone instead of the person itself. Then once I say "show me" he takes me to the scent cone then looks at me and I say "show me" again and he tracks them in from that point. Indicating to me he never had the actual person in the first place.
Why would you point and command check it after a search command? You can inadvertently pull him off of odor and make him handler dependent.. At any point was the dog rewarded and praised prior to actually being at the victim? I see folks do this and dogs learn to cheat or try to:-) sounds like he is trying to chest you. Also as you extend the search time,hi clock may be going off causing him to want the reward in that original time frame. They do that too:-)
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 02:06 PM
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Why would you point and command check it after a search command? You can inadvertently pull him off of odor and make him handler dependent..
And you can lead him to false alert. At this point you know where the victim is, so you give the "check it" near the victim to make him give the alert, but once you start blind searches and you give the clue, the dog thinks "Oh, yeah, victim is close, I must alert now". Always remember you are training yourself too and what is done repetitively becomes an habit. Under stress you may "think" the dog is on the scent cone and give the second command to "help him" and that would be a serious mistake.

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Last edited by Catu; 09-28-2012 at 02:09 PM.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Catu View Post
To me this kind of situations are actually a sign of learning. When you are working on the mechanical phase of an exercise, basically repetition, repetition, repetition... everything seems to work smoothly, but when the dog starts to really understand what is asked from them they start to look for shortcuts. As Renee pointed, you must be careful not to inadvertently reward those unwanted behaviors. Titan may be "training you" to give the second clue.

I'd also like to know what is the reward and also what kind of alert he is trained to do.

But doing be discouraged, it's all part of the learning process.
I think because I didn't discourage this the first time he did it, I may have encouraged the behavior. And I have to agree.. I think he is at the point of knowing exactly what is going on and wanting to find a short cut or cut corners.. he does this with fetch.. if he realizes a dog will get there quicker than he, he will stop and wait til the get to him and run back with them. Lol it's funny..

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Originally Posted by ladylaw203 View Post
Why would you point and command check it after a search command? You can inadvertently pull him off of odor and make him handler dependent.. At any point was the dog rewarded and praised prior to actually being at the victim? I see folks do this and dogs learn to cheat or try to:-) sounds like he is trying to chest you. Also as you extend the search time,hi clock may be going off causing him to want the reward in that original time frame. They do that too:-)
The "check it out" command is for when I know he isn't in scent but kinda just smelling the roses so to speak.. if it's a thicker area that I'm not going to go into I'll send him in that direction and say "check it out." our motto is "it's the handler's search until the K9 says otherwise." At the point I know he's in scent I will let him do his work and mark where we left off on "my" search in case he was just on some wild goose chase.


We are currently kinda going back a little. Not necessarily making the length different but just the fact that I know exactly where the victim is at and I will know when he finds them so that when he alerts at the scent cone, I don't respond to it.. instead just tell him to "search" again and then when he actually goes to the person and comes back I respoond appropriately.

We did that a little last weekend and he caught back on quick.. so hopefully it works out.. unless you guys have other suggestions.

v/r,

Whitney
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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And you can lead him to false alert. At this point you know where the victim is, so you give the "check it" near the victim to make him give the alert, but once you start blind searches and you give the clue, the dog thinks "Oh, yeah, victim is close, I must alert now". Always remember you are training yourself too and what is done repetitively becomes an habit. Under stress you may "think" the dog is on the scent cone and give the second command to "help him" and that would be a serious mistake.
Actually I have been doing the "check it out" command since the beginning and we were on Blind searches now. Basically like I said to LadyLaw, it's is simply just for when I know he's not in scent and I would like him to check a particular area that is easier for him to maneuver and I won't necessarily be following, obvioulsy an area where I have eyes on him. I NEVER EVER encourage in the direction of the victim because I would not like him to get used to me pointing him the direction of the victim.. that's unrealistic and wouldn't help anyone, lol. Just wanted to clear that up so there's not confusion. We are on blind searches now and he's been doing great. Just started this new behavior recently.

v/r,

Whitney
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Last edited by wyoung2153; 09-28-2012 at 02:16 PM.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 04:30 PM
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The show me is a cue that he has learned to wait for. . Back up ,lose the show me. A dog needs one search command not two:-) .
Amen. A pet peeve of mine. My assistant trainer does it just to chap my patootie.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Amen. A pet peeve of mine. My assistant trainer does it just to chap my patootie.

DFrost
Well I actually see it as a different command entirely. "search" is essentually "hey we are going to look for someone you haven't found yet" where "show me" is "ok show me what you just found" where he takes me to the victim. By him alerting me and me saying "search" again would initiate the beginning of the "game" where he may go "oh.. wait, that's not what she wanted, she wants a new person."

We train in a process from day one. Unleashing the dog "Search" indicates the being released to find a human. once the dog progresses they learn their alert and come back which for titan is barking and sitting in front of me. then i say "show me" to where he takes me back to the human he jsut found. which is entirely different then finding someone he hasn't yet.. If there is a double victim scenario, I would say "show me" to the first victim, Then praise, reward, yay!!! then say "search" again.. indicating that he needs to find a new person.. once alerted "show me" indicating to take me to the person he just found.

It works really well for our group. We have many ceritfied dogs and successful searches and a good amount of experience on our team to my knowledge. Though I am VERY new at this so take that in stride too.

If you don't mind me asking your process, I'd be interested in the different techniques. Just on what you say to start the search, what's your alert, and when they alert what do you do (do they alert and refind without prompt, do they alert and you just follow with no word then reward, do they alert and you say your "search" command again and they take you to the victim, etc...)

v/r,

Whitney
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