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Discussion Starter #1
For those of you who may have done this before, any recommendations of what to work on and how to build from basics up?

I'm going to a workshop next weekend. Tygo has worked on cadaver tissue (mostly blood and placenta) so this will be new to us with full bodies.

thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Nancy.

We are a mission ready team in area since February. Only one real search since then. Regularly train on cadaver tissue and I often have him training on small sources with the HRD dogs. He is even alerting on shallow buried sources. As part of our certification in CA with CARDA we have a preliminary test, 20 acres, 1 hour, 1 live find one "large source" cadaver. Most of the tissue is placenta. He has been on a bit of cerebra-spinal fluid, blood, breast reduction tissue (don't ask!) some bones and has done okay on these.

The way I understand this, there will b 7 to 9 scenarios to work. I just wondered how I should approach this as a new person to this type of training.

Thank you.
 

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The test includes a live victim and HR?

Are you going to train on a whole corpse?

Sorry, maybe I am being dense. Basahhhh. Not that that would be off for me.
 

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If this is a private set up? Then the best way would be to let him work it like a normal problem and gauge his response. You will find it different than on training aids. Some are cagey, others run right up to it. Normally the body is "protected" in some sort of fencing or you may be asked to just introduce him to it on lead.

Beau has pretty consistently in the real world (not training) done an untrained recall coming back very excited and it is the only time he has taken off from me like a rocket to get to something. But those instances have been whole bodies, less than 2 days deceased so that is different than anything you will get in a training situation.

So much for the final trained response but it is consistent and with him nearly 5, we have only had a handful or real world opportunities that are not staged (like at university body farms)

Grim did that as well. In training with bodies behind fences they would work to the fence then alert someplace downhill from the body close to it..

I rejected an offer of breast reduction tissue because they set it all in a preservative as they do histology on it. I did get the drainage fluid that was later collected though.

Confused about the test as well. Is it two separate tests? We just do NAPWDA - Beau is cadaver only. Tilly will be live find only but exposed to cadaver just to see what she does.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I confused everyone. The 20 AC test was one of three tests (and two years of training) to get certified in CA with CARDA. BTW Smithie, we have some written sign offs (navigation etc) but all our certification tests are in the field (20 AC, 40 AC and 110AC with varied scenarios). I mentioned the 20 AC just to indicate training on HR. Pretty standard that your first dog takes two years of weekly training to get to certification.

This is a separate training not a cert. I'll be in San Luis Obispo at the National Guard facility. I think this training was originally for fire investigators but now for one day it is offered to certified SAR dogs. I actually do not know if the bodies will be fenced individually. I know the training area is secured completely. I'll check on the fence thing.

Thx.
 

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This is really cool Dutch! My dogs have been working on teeth, placenta and blood from the abdomen.. The team has other sources.. I haven't worked mine on them yet as their alerts hadn't been 100%...we don't have a body farm close, although some team members have gone to CA for this purpose.. Be sure to keep us posted on how it goes :)...... As to certs, our state has 13week (once a week 4hrs a day) core competency requirements... Written tests as well as in field tests... Then, the particular teams have their own requirements and Certifications.. Right now they are all outside organizations but they are trying to get some state wide standards to try and keep expenses down...
 

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I would love to get to the facility in Texas as I have heard the set up is better than WCU. But I have heard the instruction is better at WCU and they have a new area set up there. I did get go go privately for a study they were doing and work one fenced hide from the Urban Death project.

Even so, it seems the "real thing" is by far the best. WCU fence is so full of odors from the many bodies that have decomposed there it is not 'real'. But it is of course hard to get access because once one is found on a search, the area is secured.

NAPDWA does not require large sources for its tests though our buried was whole placentas two feet down. You really have to drive great distances sometimes to have a good training opportunity..

OTOH we have had real world finds of drowning victims on dogs trained only with small amounts. And the once you are good at reading the dog in odor you will know to really detail.
 

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Jocoyn said : OTOH we have had real world finds of drowning victims on dogs trained only with small amounts. And the once you are good at reading the dog in odor you will know to really detail.


I think that is key right there! Reading the dog, especially if it is trace amounts or wind conditions cause the dog to hold off on an alert... My girl wags her tail (yuck.. At least she doesn't eat or roll in it, lol) so I know she has found source... Her alerts are about 85%-90% of the time, so we need work.. My boy is harder to read, he has a curly tail and is more easily distracted some days...
 

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The problem with building a reliable trained final response on big sources is the lack of ability to work them with any frequency. For the small stuff I would expect close to 100% and would only call a find based on a combination of body language and final trained response.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I got a bit more info. The bodies are not fenced. Some scenarios the dog will be able to go all the way in others not. I know in the past, for instance they have had a hanging scenario. I think one of the difficult things is that (at least in the past), the scent associated with 7-9 bodies can get very overwhelming to the dogs. They are spaced out but the bodies will have been there for 24 hours and they are still within walking distance.

After talking to others I think my goal is just to get Tygo used to the large sources as something I want an alert on and get some good alert sequences going. Trying to reign in my expectations and ambitions. You can imagine I want to do it all. Many of said to be careful and very willing to skip some scenarios based on the dog (and handler) condition. I'm planning to try to quell my eagerness so I don't blow it by pushing the dog too much. I'll direct that energy to watching others work the problems.

My plan is to run the first couple scenarios knowing where the source is so I can watch for body language and cue the alert (what I call alert is his jump on me) if I need to.

I have heard about dogs being weirded out. My guess is that Tygo will be curious and interested and probably hang with the body too long. I doubt he would be afraid. That is a guess I realize.

I'll report back.
 

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Sure thing. I would imagine then first approach will be on lead and they would take it from there. That is a GREAT opportunity.

Some Be very alert some responses to avoid: Biting it. Peeing on it. If your dog is weird ease him on in - that seems to be highly variable. Just remember it is completely different and new to your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey there.

We just got back from the training. Wow.... what a cool opportunity to work. Super interesting, great training, and great folks. We eight scenarios including a hanging, cars, under trash piles, under shrubs, under water, in tents, parts in suitcases, in a sooty building, and one body was in a cabin that was completely burned, nothing identifiable as human. On that last one they said the recorded the "cabin" temperature at 2000 degrees and the body at over 1000 degrees.

Tygo did great for a first time on full bodies and first time for these scenarios. He clearly knew what he was looking for and very little hesitating by the bodies. Nice validation that the sources that we use in training do work pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised He had a great time and did not get stressed or over tired.

My one big issue is this. Many of the scenarios are built for HRD dogs really. Tygo is area certified. For a lot of the finds I was close by, like feet away and instead of doing his jump alert he would do his shepherd stare... seemingly saying," If you can't figure this out you are an idiot. Its right here!!!" I really do think he gets the jump alert is to bring me in from some distance, and when I was right there there was no need to "bing me in". I have to figure that out and train that. I figure I either reinforce the "jump alert" in close quarters or I listen to some of these other folks and get hm to do add a passive alert and just sit down by the source. I'm leaning toward the first. But understand the latter sets me up if I want to get the small source cadaver cert. The shepherd stare is not always a find... some times he stares for other reasons I think. So I'm not comfortable with that. Any thoughts on this?

Anyway, just wanted to report in. Super training and already planning to go next year. Beautiful location. Oh and the bodies come from Tennessee. I did not catch the name but every body is donated by that person and they know what all can be done and who will be training. After the dogs, all the bodies are used in simulations to train fire investigators.

Anyway, more work to do. ;-)
 

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Sounds like a great opportunity! I would determine what I was going to do.....If live find only with the cadaver training being specific to finding a relatively recent whole body I would consider sticking with what you have.

If you want to do HRD and do all variations, I would work on a standard passive alert. In most situations like that you are pretty close to your dog when he is working and are simultaneously reading body language and demanding the dog to give you a final response. I would also talk with folks about the types of training/and documentation to keep a dog proficient in two disciplines. I know some who really prefer single-purpose dogs but many do work in two.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Nancy for your thoughts. I realize I get a bit distracted by all the comments I get... not here.... but other places. I spent some time thinking about it and I'm going to stick with one discipline, area, and focus on a bit of training to get the dog to alert in close proximity to me. Maybe my next dog I'll consider the HRD work. For now, I just have a lot to learn and I need a lot more experience.

Just takes me time to process sometimes.
 

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I like the single dog single discipline approach. I think that exposure is great for a live find dog because you know how the dog reacts and can put in YOUR inventory. Even so what you find on a search may be very different. For me, a dog acting hinky is usually a predator so when we had a recent cadaver search and the dog was hesitant and the flanker wanted to go down and check it out, I held them back, logged a waypoint and reported the coordinates to base. We were in bear country and we have a lot of them. I had seen that behavior before with another dog. The missing people - were later found alive and well miles away.
 

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Becoming are trail dogs, I think teaching the passive alert is easier.. My boy, who was kind of forced to start in area (team MO is to push area first) before began trailing has a harder time, he wants to give a refind alert, whereas my girl just plops her but down.. Retraining my boy is taking more time... Not sure if I will take them to certification for HR but knowing they will alert if in proximity, for whatever reason is nice, although as a trailer we aren't usually put in a likely deceased scenario, but it can happen..


Glad you had a great time Dutch !

Nancy, how is your new girl coming along?
 

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She is coming along great. I have been battling and old foot injury and broke down and am working with a PT which has impeded my progress with her, but the only issue I have found and am working on is a bit more gaminess than I would like.

For example if she is searching and she runs across deer scent she is too interested in it for my liking. While I can call her off of a chase, she ranges so far out that I need to make sure she does not make the decision to go off on the chase without me knowing because I can't see her. ..... And it is not just visual prey drive.

So I will be working with someone on that. But a recent night problem, my subject was over 1000 feet away in about a 10 acre area and I had maybe gone 100 feet and she had already made the find. She is fast and wide open.
 

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Wow, that is both awesome and frustrating... I'm sorry your foot injury gas flared up. I hope it resolves quickly and pt helps.. Crittering is always frustrating, especially when they have such potential. I'm sure you will get it sorted out and her on the straight and narrow :)
 
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