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DutchKarin great story! A little late to that party, but that's great news for the search, I know it must have been frustrating until you learned what they were doing, lol. I am a terrible navigator.. my weakest link is me..

So chatted with an old SAR friend of mine about why I left the team. She said Titan was a rockstar and was really excelling. And she is absolutely right. In the end, after the nipping incident and dealing with some rough times back home, distance was the ultimate reason for me leaving.. That and not feeling connected to the team at times.. She hooked me up with one of her friends on her new team that either is training in my city, or knows people that are training there.. that gave me a little taste again for getting back into things. Still unsure, (mostly confidence in Titan's recall, even though we have been solid with that for so long now since the incident)... but we'll see. It'll have to be after deployment so I have time to think about it.

Hope everything is going well with you guys!!
 

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We have been training hard for our level 3 trailing test, (which we passed with flying colors Go Areli!) and cleaning up (mostly me) communication on the trail..

Now that Areli is certified I'm maintaining what we have and aging tracks longer (longest has been22.5hrs double blind; and a 32hr loose retrace of previous unrun trail, known) and working with Akivah again.. The time off has really matured him and thrown his drive into overdrive! He is tearing up the tracks/trails and I think he might be ready to test as early as spring..

I'm taking classes and honing my nav skills, learning more about, well, everything and enjoying the forward progress our team is making in all areas...

What is everyone else up to?
 

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Been getting my second dog ready to certify trailing.. He is talented but still a bit immature.. The malamute part of his gsd/malamute breeding has delayed his progress at times, lol.. But he has been doing some super work lately.. Otherwise, been pretty much the same; training both dogs (and myself) ... How is everyone else doing?
 

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Nobody has posted here for a long time, sooo.. We have had 2 successful deployments, one urban one wilderness and while we didn't make the find, we had correct DOT and my girl (and boy) worked very well... Recert is coming up for my girl and my boy is set to test to take his level 3 test this month... Then we will test with IPWDA in September..

We train four to six days a week trailing and toss some HR in there as well.. Once recert/cert are out of the way for trailing I will focus harder on the HRD and see about certs there... Not that I am focused on HR as a sole discipline (it is a great discipline and brings so much closure to family members) as trailing takes alot of time and energy to do, but it is important the dogs be savvy about HR should there subject go from live to deceased at trails end... Still, I love watching the dogs work, especially seasoned HRD handlers with their dogs.. Truly amazing..

What is everyone else up to?
 

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Have had a couple of deployments as well. The latest is still on-going. I was there Saturday and Sunday. So hard when a 71 year old vanishes. Hundreds of miles searched, hundred of searchers, helicopters, etc. And nothing after 5 days. The area is a big mountain lake that is accessed by hundreds of people and trails all around that eventually go into wilderness areas. The backstory is about a woman with compromised and seemingly declining cognitive functioning. More to it as well but probably should not be public about it. Although since it is public I can say that in June this woman walked away from a campsite and was out overnight. Found the next day and said she was determined to get back so hiked all night long.

I'm wondering about trail dog use early on in this search. I don't know. Woman went missing Thursday. There was only one trailing dog on Saturday and Sunday. Don't know if they were their earlier.

Things I learned on this search.... stick a spare pair of underwear and a toothbrush in the car. I stayed overnight, the county put us up in a hotel. That was unplanned. Would have been nice to have a clean pair of underwear. hahahah.

Training weekly. I was just made co-leader for the county k9 team... sort of title more than anything. I tease my co-leader that I got the title so I could just boss him around. ;-)

I'm working on getting a consistent alert (jump) when I am relatively close in. Tygo has a tendency to do the shepherd stare when it seems obvious to him... that is the only thing I can think that he is thinking. "Karin, pretty obvious here... don't think you need my jump alert. You are not an idiot... or are you?" Thing.

I was pleased how hard he worked on 3 large assignments at that search including a night assignment. Oh... I also learned that while I love working at night, it is one thing to do that on a trail and a completely other thing to do that over an area with no trails.

Thank god no testing for a year and 1/2. Oh... I will do Avalanche certification this year... and I was invited to join an avalanche response team. Its made up of a bunch of ski area dogs and the intent of this team is to be able to respond to an avalanche in the backcountry in 20 minutes. Not sure how I will fit into that. If you are a handler at a ski area, it is pretty easy to zip in with a helo and get you out there... but if you are a working Joe... I don't know.

Anyhow... just a morning blab.
Best to all of you SAR junkies.. be safe.
 
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Nobody has posted here for a long time, sooo.. We have had 2 successful deployments, one urban one wilderness and while we didn't make the find, we had correct DOT and my girl (and boy) worked very well... Recert is coming up for my girl and my boy is set to test to take his level 3 test this month... Then we will test with IPWDA in September..

We train four to six days a week trailing and toss some HR in there as well.. Once recert/cert are out of the way for trailing I will focus harder on the HRD and see about certs there... Not that I am focused on HR as a sole discipline (it is a great discipline and brings so much closure to family members) as trailing takes alot of time and energy to do, but it is important the dogs be savvy about HR should there subject go from live to deceased at trails end... Still, I love watching the dogs work, especially seasoned HRD handlers with their dogs.. Truly amazing..

What is everyone else up to?
Can you help a dummy out? :smile2: I'm guessing hr/hrd is human remains/detection? DOT, department of transportation? Lol

Question about long searches, is it necessary to take breaks and reinforce training at intervals in this type of work? Watching a program about the 9/11 search dogs, they found the dogs would lose focus as time between finds became extended. Some training session and reward would re-energize them or something along those lines?
 

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HRD=Human Remains Detection

I think most of us know the time limits on our dogs based on watching them work and reading them. I know based on head carriage and body language when my dog is actively working and when he has transitioned to "going for a walk". Frequent forced breaks seem to be enough to keep him energized but we are not searching day in and day out so honestly the best answer would be from the MWD bomb detection dog handler who does just that. [David?]

Usually I do something when I get home from a search, no matter how tired. Normally call my husband and ask him to set out a human bone for me as I am driving home (since everything else grosses him out). Having hides to freshen up with at a search are great and a lot of us used to take them, but this event pretty much left most of us making sure we had nothing in our vehicles (for this purpose) during a search deployment.

Dog-handler pleads guilty
 

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Wow, that is beyond disturbing. Tampering with evidence just to inflate your own ego, she should have gotten more than a couple years. Anyone involved with law enforcement should be held to a higher standard and punishments for willful wrong doing should reflect this.
 

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As far as training and callouts

Our team policy prevents us from discussing any callout, even in general terms, on social media.

It has, however been a normal summer with 2-3 calls a month.

We had a great team training (rented a cabin on a remote piece of land in the mountains of western SC) last weekend. For Beau, my teammates set up basically a complete NAPWDA mock cadaver test and the funniest one was where someone unknowingly peed about 3 feet from a buried source. Fortunately, he ignored the pee and alerted on the hide.

The most challenging problem for us (and I was really angsting over it until we pulled the hide up) was a water hide in the far side channel in a mountain stream. He got odor in the area but was really having trouble pinpointing and I had to detail him to it after they greatly narrowed down the problem for me. It was about a foot deep in running water and was about a thimblefull (I kid you not) of bone gristle in a cage. Small hides are great but not that small for a large area search (which was about a half mile of stream). The overnight hide I gave them to put out (complete with cage) gagged them all and it was great to watch him work it the next day as we don't get as many overnight hides as we would like when he hit odor he did not even mess with working out the scent pool - just ran straight to it. Everything I worked over the weekend was unknown to me. We also worked a lot of good stream hides at my request. They thought they would trick him by climbing into a culvert with one. He loves culverts so that was not an issue at all.

Tilly was out of commission on this one. I got permission to spay her so she was home recovering. I admire those who juggle intact dogs but am relieved to not have her out of commission for a month every 5 months (yes, she was on a 5 month cycle). She will be much more valuable as a working dog this way.

Before that we have been busy doing small stuff with her and with me recovering with my stupid ankle. I am back up to 6 miles a day but I can't say it is painless. We went back to some foundation tracking for scent discrimination with her and working on ignoring game scents. I hope to pass our first two tests with her (20 acre scent discrimination and 60-80 acre day test, non discriminating) this fall. Then the night test this winter.
 

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@Nancy, is this the same ankle you have metal holding it together? I recall you had a major "rebuild" on one of them. Hopefully it'll heal up soon.

Some very cool accomplishment by you, Karin and Hineni, huge respect for the work you guys do.

I'm working on much simpler stuff like having my girls carry a bucket. Ive had two short sessions and Tuke will pick it up on que, but will immediately drop it, Zoey will pick it up, but wants to run around and thrash it, lol we'll get there.
 

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@Nancy, is this the same ankle you have metal holding it together? I recall you had a major "rebuild" on one of them. Hopefully it'll heal up soon.
Yes actually had the accident in 2005 (fracture with metal plate-never play with a dog on a tracking line-lesson learned) but a fall this spring (slide out on gravel) did some more damage and the PT says basically the ligaments in my foot are toast. She is both stretching out scar tissue and teaching me how to use other leg muscles for the balance that normally the foot muscles create. On normal ground it is find but off trail and getting in and out of boats even with good ankle support puts a lot of stress there. I gather the issues will never be fixed but can be made workable.
 
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Thanks Nigel.. And DOT is 'direction of travel' used for trailing dogs as often police want to narrow the search down and deploy other resources in the area most likely the subject is at. So a trailing dog might still be following the trail when the subjects found by other searchers because the direction of travel was made and resources where used more practically..

Karin, sounds like you have been busy and doing a great job!!

Nancy, sorry to hear the ankle is still bugging you so much.. Have had many surgeries in life and know the pain of demolished joints and scar tissue.. Hang in there! Also understand the spaying of your girl.. Mine was cycling every 3mos! Crazy! So she was spayed before 2 just for her own sanity as well as workability...
 

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Thanks Hineni! That makes sense now.

Nancy, Just realised from your earlier post that the thimble of gristle was under moving water, I'm amazed they can find something that small under those conditions.

My girls found a moose carcass during a camping trip earlier this year, that's about as good as it gets for us. Looks like wolves had torn it up and spread it around.
 

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Nigel said: Question about long searches, is it necessary to take breaks and reinforce training at intervals in this type of work? Watching a program about the 9/11 search dogs, they found the dogs would lose focus as time between finds became extended. Some training session and reward would re-energize them or something along those lines?

Those were usually very long hours under extremely difficult and stressful conditions, and where a live find search dog was meeting death at every turn... Same for the humans... That can take its toll on everyone and so breaks and mock live finds help bring up everyone's mood... If it is a long trail, we break because of fatigue for the dog.. Hard for them to sniff effectively if heavily panting or dry mouth.. But forced breaks like Nancy said is the norm, as the dog is likely to try and push through the exhaustion because they love what they do so much....
 
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