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Discussion Starter #1
I just talked with the Lady that has most of the experience and say about our team.

She said that they are in need of Cadaver Dogs.

I was like "REALLY? WE DO THAT?" and she said "Yes, but we would have to talk to our trainer about the materials."

I told her that I am very interested in training Judge as a Cadaver dog and if we could talk this weekend about it and she said that I could even train Yukon as a Cadaver Dog despite his age.

Oh my god I am sooo excited.

So here are my questions.

What does it take to train a Cadaver Dog?
How do you start? Of course find/indication/re-find as a foundation, right?

How long does it generally take?
 

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I can't give you any info on that, but it sure sounds like an exciting thing to do with your dog!
Good luck with it!
 

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Thanks. This is so amazing. This trule is truly the land of all possibilities. In Germany I couldn't even get my hands on anything like that AT ALL.

Now it all depends if the team has the materials to get us started. Please wish me luck!!! She said they are in need and we'll talk about it on Sunday. :D
 

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That is wonderful Mrs. K! Best of luck!
 

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So here are my questions.

What does it take to train a Cadaver Dog?
How do you start? Of course find/indication/re-find as a foundation, right?

How long does it generally take?
Are you going to be doing ONLY HRD or are you going to be expected to detect HR in your wilderness air scent requirements? The training for the indication is different. For wilderness air scent - you DO want the find, indication, refind - the same as for a live person or an article. For ONLY HRD dogs, they usually STAY with what they've found and indicate with a scratch, a sit, a down, or I also know a dog that points it with her nose as well.

You start by imprinting on material (aka human remains of some sort, or blood or hair/teeth etc). You reward every time the dog sniffs at or gets interested in it. Some dogs are naturally afraid of the smell - Madix and Mason (my two that I imprinted on it) were not so it was REALLY simple to get them into sniffing it and then reward. Then you start hiding it in REALLY simple spots, bring them around, when they sniff - you praise and reward. Once they are getting the hang of WHAT they're looking for, you start working in the indication. This is where the training is different for purely HRD dogs. For your pup I think this would be the chain. But, for your older dog who is used to training and probably won't be quite as frantic as pups usually are, you may start the indication right away. Madix was a REALLY focused puppy so I started luring him into a down as soon as he caught the smell (not with food though, with his toy and then tugging as the reward).

Every dog learns differently and at a different pace. Plus it depends on what sources you get to work with. Mason could find something as little as a few teeth and a hank of hair...submerged in water. And he wasn't the best on our team. We usually told new members that they should expect a solid 1.5 years of training at the least to get their Field Support Certification and get their dogs to the level of deployment.

Hope this helps!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes your post really helped :) , if I do the HRD I will be doing that only with Judge and Yukon.
She said that usually they have SAR/HRD Dogs but the specialized dogs do the work much better and so I'd be training them in HRD only and Indra as my SAR dog.

Hopefully we have the materials. It all comes down to that....
 

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LadyLaw had posts about cadaver dogs a few weeks ago. I also believe that she trains and works her own cadaver dogs.
She could probably give you a lot of info.
 

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Ladylaw does have more experience than I do by far

I have trained, nationally (NAPWDA, IPWDA advanced) ceritified (2008,2009,2010) and work a single purpose cadaver dog. For anything other than finding someone recently deceased on a wildnerness search I strongly support a single purpose dog.

What you do depends a lot on how the dog is used. Detection work is detection work and not rocket science. It helps a lot to have the handler have air scent experience and experience reading a dogs body language because it is critical to success (even with a trained indication).

Other issues are legal issues (cadaver dogs frequently do wind up in court), serious training record documentation, search strategy, and now that you dog had indicated.......where is the body? That itself can be very difficult as scent can travel through soil, in groundwater, be released by vegetation etc. Criminal cadaver searches do not always take you into the nicest areas (needles on ground, got to meet a drug lord, chained pit bulls, etc.)

I would say a brand new trainer AND a solid training program, maybe one year to get the dog up to a basic level (certify), but then what materials? You need the full spectrum and acess to small and large sources of various ages, type, and stages of decomp (not just the teeth, blood, and hair that some folks use) . Most certifications require dog to be at least 18 months old to test anyway.

Our team requires a person to have field experience with working an air scent dog before starting in on cadaver to build a foundation in "dog reading" and scent transport. and to make sure they have the right temperament to work in a crime scene type environment. Plus can they handle the dead people part of it too........

We don't do a refind with our cadaver dogs. We do a passive alert though I agree with ladylaw that, honestly, an agressive alert really should not be a problem (but it is with a lot of people) - You have to have your dog working in a fairly visual range so you can see / read the nuances of their body language. You really do.

The very first step is to make sure your dog is not averse to the odor. If the dog is, stop it. 2nd thing, most people really prefer ball crazy dogs and it definitely makes training a LOT easier. I have worked with both and will not even consider a food dog for cadaver work but that is personal preference.

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I did my imprinting with throws of scented towels (there is a whole sequence there) and went active to passive and I have a solid passive dog.

A lot of folks are really hot on Randy Hare and i want to get to one of his seminars.

The old school method of imprinting on lineups of blocks also has its adherants.

I really don't have enough experience with the different methods to evaluate the pros and cons of each. My last certificaion test the "suggestion for improvment" was that the dog was solid, that I need more experience with working out strategy for different scenarios.

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you so much for your input. I will definitely write down a couple of questions and will ask them of Sunday of how much of a spectrum and access to training we have and since it wouldn't make sense if we only have access to hair, blood and teeth.
 

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What does it take to train a Cadaver Dog?
How do you start? Of course find/indication/re-find as a foundation, right?

How long does it generally take?



Well, I will probably be discouraging but I want you to know the pros and cons.

The first thing is that the dog must have drive. NO food reward. The dog MUST have an insatiable desire for his reward be it ball,kong bumper or whatever because that is how a solid dog is imprinted. The dog must have rock solid nerves. If the dog passes eval then you have to address training aids. NO HAIR. Blood is of little use . Placenta is a marginal aid. If you do not have access to all types of decomposed tissue comprised of the entire spectrum of human decomposition,do not waste your time. I know this sounds harsh but it is true. :)
The dog is not fully operational unless the dog's threshold is high enough for a full set of remains in the water or above ground, all the way down to a buried set of remains and disarticulated. It takes many months to train a dog for this field. Not to mention the dog must be proofed off of non target odors. It takes months for me to train the cadaver dogs for Iraq and Afghanistan and I am working multiple scenarios a day and their training continues once in theater.
Human bone can be purchased but it is getting difficult to import and is very expensive. I just spent $700 for a partial skull, a long bone, a partial jaw and pelvis. Purchasing is the only way you will obtain bone.
I will answer any questions you have gladly,but you must realize that this is not an easy endeavor. You must also check the laws in your state with regard to possession of HR>

I do NOT reccomend cross training. A live find dog should be seperate from a cadaver dog. There are problems with cross training and no dog is solid on separate indications. You will have limitations with the dog. :)
 

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Getting samples is a problem right now. No good sources. We can talk more sunday....
 

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This post just reminded me about a training event with the Sheriff's Dept this Friday.
Snohomish County Sheriff's Dept has a cadaver dog team and they are going to do a demonstration and Q&A session and might be offering up some following on training to some people... When I get my 2nd GSD in about 6 months (when Ze'eva is 1) I want to train it for cadaver or strictly for USAR OR avalanche rescue. So depending on how things go Friday I will know if I want to or not.
 

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Not wanting to stray off topic, but can a person donate thier body for the use of cadaver training? Say along the same lines of donating it for research?
 

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Getting samples is a problem right now. No good sources. We can talk more sunday....
Access can be much harder for us civilians. We do get to work scenes right after a badly decomposed body has been removed and the site processed but have had a very few opportunities (other than drownings and old graves ) to work whole body scent.

It is very different - hard on the dog - my own dog struggles with pinpointing an overwhelming source of scent - he does not fringe alert but you can see it is hard for him to work it out and pinpoint. Much easier to pinpoint a 5 gram shard of bone. All we can do is build experience there and at least know when the dog has hit a huge scent pool to help focus the effort (he goes frantic but some dogs ignore it)

Like everyone else, we do combine aids to make a bigger source but it really isn't the same.....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So i shouldn't get my hopes up too much. It might be odd that somebody is that excited about that kind of work but I am just very interested in it and in Germany it is pretty much impossible to get to do any like that at all.

However, I will take your advise and if it doesn't make any sense at all due to not having access to the spectrum I won't do it. I'd rather keep doing the wilderness SAR.
 

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I would definitely check it out and first thing I would ask it - do they get calls for it and are they used?

I went from live find to cadaver because half our call outs (about 15 of 30 a year) are for either drownings, or suspected shallow graves or locating scattered remains after some have been found by a hunter or a dog.

We have had great success with finding the drowning victims but are still on a learning curve with the buried ones and are continuing to work on developing expertise there - most of the buried problems are speculative but with drownings they are pretty much almost always there

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For the donated body question. You know, very few people teams would be able to manage something that big. And there are a lot of complications with having such. Over time, I think you start to build the kind of relationships that you slowly begin to gain access to needed sites (but still if it is a possible crime scene...they don't need you there and you need to stay away)
 

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Getting samples is a problem right now. No good sources. We can talk more sunday....
Just a thought here (and a gross one at that, sorry) but would this be something... that... uhm... ladies could provide?

Tried to be as delecate as possible, sorry gentlemen!
 

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You will hear emotional articles about pseudo from two sides but not a single police certificaiton organization here will allow you to certify on it and it is definitely not full spectrum.

I have seen solid cadaver dogs who have not trained on psuedo ignore it.
 
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