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After talking for a bit with my team, we decided that it would be really beneficial if I could train my next dog for area search/air scent. A lot of times we get wilderness call-outs from a neighboring county and they ask for a dog, but by the time we're actually deployed, conditions are not feasible for a trailing dog and air scent would be much more efficient. Also issues with getting good information on PLS from family/friends of the victim, etc. Only problem is, we don't have any experience with this discipline so far. The team has only been in existence for three years and was formed by some trailing folks, later joined by HRD folks. I'm curious what the best way is to find someone who I could correspond with via email to troubleshoot things and to make sure I'm not royal screwing everything up. We're in a rural area and I can drive several hours to meet up with another team who does air scent, but not every training they have.

So far, I've emailed a few folks who were "friends of acquaintances," or "acquaintances of acquaintances," and they were nice but not really interested in a lot of contact (which I don't blame them since they don't know me and I don't have this dog yet). I was planning on going to WASAR and maybe the NSDA conference to network next year. Are there any other places I should try? Is it appropriate to email the bigger teams in the region and ask if I can visit their trainings to observe?
 

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I would start by getting ARDA book. It's name is going straight out if my head. But it will take you step by step through the basic wilderness training.

Then figure out who you are going to certify through. NASAR? And contact them in regards to evaluators, then contact evaluators and get some ideas for mentors.

Good luck
 

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I would start by getting ARDA book. It's name is going straight out if my head. But it will take you step by step through the basic wilderness training.

Then figure out who you are going to certify through. NASAR? And contact them in regards to evaluators, then contact evaluators and get some ideas for mentors.

Good luck
Thanks! :) I have read the ARDA book and also Susan Bulanda's book. So in theory I know how this is supposed to work. I have so many questions though.

We certify through NSDA though other organizations are allowed. They have a list of evaluators, so I can try contacting them.
 

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I am in a similar position where I live. The closest team is 100 miles away, which means once a month I get on a ferry and travel 4.5 hours to Juneau, AK. The team work outs are on wednesday nights and the ferry schedule is some what limited so I have to leave tuesday evenings most times, staying through early thursday morning and getting back on the ferry to return home. Juneau is not connected to the road system here in SE Alaska, hence the ferry.

My point of saying this is if a team is worth working with and they see you putting forth a strong effort and being dependable they will be more than willing to help you. I think most teams get at least a few tire kickers who once they find out the work involved are not willing to put in the time and effort. This makes teams a little cautious initially.

Once you find the team I think your mentor should come from that group if possible. Its really helpful when you are doing most of the work on your own to have face time as much as the circumstances allow. I know without the team I work with and in particular a couple of the handlers help, this would be almost an impossible task for me.
 

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Have you done any networking with King County Search Dogs? There is also a group in Idaho not knowing where you are. Anne Christiansen NAPWDA SAR liason may have information on resources in East Washington.

I think Marcia Koenig (King County) was a founding member of NSDA.
 

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Have you done any networking with King County Search Dogs? There is also a group in Idaho not knowing where you are. Anne Christiansen NAPWDA SAR liason may have information on resources in East Washington.

I think Marcia Koenig (King County) was a founding member of NSDA.
Thank you, Nancy. Marcia is on my list of people to contact. They're about four hours away so I would have to make a vacation out of it. Thank you also for the NAPWDA lead- I didn't know they had any connections in WA. Is the Idaho team Idaho Mountain Rescue? I was on a search once with someone who used to work with them and he had good things to say.

I like jjoesterling's point about face time. Maybe what I can do is alternate training with the team two hours away and my local team. Luckily I have a lot of time to figure it out.
 

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I am on the East Coast. I have a teammate who summers in Missoula and winters here in SC. I will see what he knows about resources out there. He has certified his dog in airscent and HRD with NAPWDA but is primarily an HRD dog.

I just know Ann is with NAPWDA and contact info is through their site. She is in Idaho, but I am not sure what team..She is also on FB. I know someone else (HRD) in Southern Idaho and I can ask her as well. I am sure both must know everyone out that way.

Where in Washington are you? If you are on FB, friend me as Nancy Hess Jocoy and I can connect you with Ann (who I only know through FB, but she has Beau's uncle) and Lynn (who I know in person when I roomed with her at a seminar). My teammate is not on FB and is a private kind of guy but I can just ask him.

Our team got started by being mentored by another team. Good teams don't mind "competition" but embrace the availability of other resources.
 

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FWIW, I agree. All those connections and cross training help. We do a good bit of mutual aid when a search expands and knowing those other resources is critical.
 

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Is it appropriate to email the bigger teams in the region and ask if I can visit their trainings to observe?
Absolutely. I think you will find the established WA K9 SAR units to be very supportive. Here in King County we frequently train with members from other counties. You are welcome to observe our airscent trainings, PM me for details if interested. I know the folks in Kittitas, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties (to name a few) would be open to observers as well. I can provide contacts for them if needed.
 

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Thanks! :) I have read the ARDA book and also Susan Bulanda's book. So in theory I know how this is supposed to work. I have so many questions though.
I read all the books I could find before I started training my dog. They are all interesting, but not a substitute for direct learning by observation and participating in exercises guided by experienced folks. My advice would be to read Scent and the Scenting dog so you have a basic understanding of scent theory and then go hide for and follow experienced airscent teams as much as possible so you know what to expect. When starting your own dog, do the initial training stages with somebody who has done it before. Ideally there would be multiple people on your team who learn airscent even if you only have one dog in training because you will need them to know how to set up appropriate problems etc.
 

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How far away from CA are you?? I know a phenomenal person in Ojai. But not sure that would be feasible.

I love helping, so feel free to PM with questions. While it's been years since I did wilderness air scent, I may be able to help with basic questions without seeing the dog.

Also, it may be worthwhile to contact ARDA. I know they have sent teams to locations far and wide to help train new teams. In fact, a few people recently went to Thailand to help a team there. So WA is not out of reach.
 
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