German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,980 Posts
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?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,742 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,980 Posts
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:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,742 Posts
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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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..

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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
868 Posts
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.

DFrost
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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...)
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
868 Posts
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" )
It's redundant. One usually doesn't say, sit, sit again or down, down again. The command is search/find it or whatever, the proper response is to start searching. Should you also keep telling the dog to search as long as it's searching? Then the dog is trained, once it finds the "thing" it's searching for it gives a response. Why would a second command be needed, once it's completed the task it was trained to do? My second pet peeve is a handler carrying on a dialog with the dog while it's working.

DFrost
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
It's redundant. One usually doesn't say, sit, sit again or down, down again. The command is search/find it or whatever, the proper response is to start searching. Should you also keep telling the dog to search as long as it's searching? Then the dog is trained, once it finds the "thing" it's searching for it gives a response. Why would a second command be needed, once it's completed the task it was trained to do? My second pet peeve is a handler carrying on a dialog with the dog while it's working.

DFrost
While I can certainly understand that and get what you are saying.. I still disagree.. which I know is going to get a lot of argument on here, but to me they are asking two different things. One is using your nose to find someone whom you have no idea and the other is to just take me to the person you were just with. 2 different things. i'm not wanting him to start over from scratch and find a new smell, I am wanting him to take me to where he just was with that human.

I can certainly see your point though.. but then I ask this, if that is the case, and I am completely wrong in my thinking and training, and it is redundant, then it would seem to me that they cannot be taught multiple words for one command. Titan knows both English commands and German commands for the same thing. "down" and "platz," "drop it" and "aus," etc. you get the idea.

i do agree with the conversations while working. When I first started training I did that a lot not thinking about it. My trainer had to get on me a lot and I have gotten a lot better, but like I said, still new and learning as much as Titan is.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
868 Posts
It's not my position to argue. I only give advice based on the years I've worked at this trade. whether or not advice, given by anyone, is taken is entirely up to the person asking for advice.

DFrost
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come off indicating you didn't know what you were talking about. I guess I just see 2 different techniques at work. Like I said before I will bring it up to my trainer out of curiosity.. because I am curious. But you never did answer my question of your process.. what do you guys do as commands and on the "refind" That wasn't meant to be snooty, I was actually genuinely interested in your answer, I am always open to new techniques in training of any kind. I just can see where my trainer is coming from in his ways.. he too has years of experience in this and it's worked great for him.. which is why I have to be careful bringing it up.. he's not the friendliest when you question his training technique unless you provide a valid point.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
And just to be clear.. I wasn't really asking for advice, more just what people thought about Titan's reverting to alerting on the scent cone as opposed to the victim like he's been doing the whole time.. more if it was normal or what was going on. the command thing was more brought up in talking about what my technique was.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
Show me is used in the recall-refind which is a bit different than a passive or agressive indication, and it gets automatic for the dog to complete the sequence without command but I have almost always seen the handler acknowledge the alert then say show me.

I am not sure it is the same crutch as it is for a different type of indication That said where I have seen it break down like it is here, is not rewarding the intermediate parts of the entire sequence on ocassion. You have to reinforce the decision points in the sequence.

For example, have the victim offer the dog a treat (playing at this stage breaks the sequence though a ball dog may or may not take the treat) for going all the way in.

Go back to foundation runaways. This is a very common problem the dog knows the victim is there and does not go all the way in. The problem is then it breaks completely down when the victim is right under your nose (like an altzheimers in the brush) so the dog even thinks the whole sequence is strange. So even if you can see the victim reinforce the sequence.

My two cents. Recall refind is our indicaiton for offlead dogs and that one I have worked out with my own dog years ago and she was a pip. I have seen a dogs work through this sequence breakdown because people always want to move foward with throwing in foundation work every once in awhile. FWIW I hardly talk at all when we are searching other than if I want to direct to search an area the dog has not worked, but if I want more detail vs less I just adjust the speed of my body. Pretty much don't talk at all. Neat thing with a herding breed is they are always in tune with where you are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,980 Posts
While I can certainly understand that and get what you are saying.. I still disagree.. which I know is going to get a lot of argument on here, but to me they are asking two different things. One is using your nose to find someone whom you have no idea and the other is to just take me to the person you were just with. 2 different things. i'm not wanting him to start over from scratch and find a new smell, I am wanting him to take me to where he just was with that human.

I can certainly see your point though.. but then I ask this, if that is the case, and I am completely wrong in my thinking and training, and it is redundant, then it would seem to me that they cannot be taught multiple words for one command. Titan knows both English commands and German commands for the same thing. "down" and "platz," "drop it" and "aus," etc. you get the idea.




IF I am understanding you. Your dog has a search command AND a show me with regard to the refind. I see folks using with HRD dogs too Search dogs should have one command to find the target. Minimizes confusion. The dog can become handler dependent and wait for that secondary command and not go to target if it is not received. That being said I do not care for refind. I have an IRO titled dog and my dogs never leave my sight. Too much chance of being injured. My dog remains with the victim and barks. He receives one initial command to search. The drive for the reward is strong enough that he searches nonstop until the victim is located and NEVER leaves the victim. Refinds that I see involve the dog returning to the handler, turning around after maybe jumping at the handler,and returning to the victim. Other problem with losing sight of the dog and refind is that the dog leaves the victim,and may have to find the handler then find the victim again
Just things to ponder:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
IF I am understanding you. Your dog has a search command AND a show me with regard to the refind. I see folks using with HRD dogs too Search dogs should have one command to find the target. Minimizes confusion. The dog can become handler dependent and wait for that secondary command and not go to target if it is not received. That being said I do not care for refind. I have an IRO titled dog and my dogs never leave my sight. Too much chance of being injured. My dog remains with the victim and barks. He receives one initial command to search. The drive for the reward is strong enough that he searches nonstop until the victim is located and NEVER leaves the victim. Refinds that I see involve the dog returning to the handler, turning around after maybe jumping at the handler,and returning to the victim. Other problem with losing sight of the dog and refind is that the dog leaves the victim,and may have to find the handler then find the victim again
Just things to ponder:)
I see what you are saying exactly and I can see both sides. I initially started training with a group in Germany who did the Bark and Hold vs Refind. That's how started. When I came to the states to find a team I never came across one that didn't do the refind.. i'm sure they are out there, lol, just didn't come across them. I can see both sides of the techniques and the good and bad in both. On one hand the Bark and hold means you are always with your dog and the victim is never left alone once found. On the other hand... personally.. if I was a child lost in the woods and I had 100 lb gsd.. which Titan is.. charging up to me and barking his brains out and not going away, I would be terrified out of my mind.. granted, better scared found kid than a not scared lost kid. but you get my idea. What about if you get an adult that is mentally unstable or even not but maybe not clearly thinking and the dog finds him and starts his alert which startles the person and they injure the dog because it won't be quiet.. that sort of thing. or even if the person tries to run from the dog.. like someone who may be scared of them.

With the Refind on one hand is good because they aren't terrifying the victim and allows for yourdog to range more in their search, which Titan likes to do. Same result.. person is found. However, I do see what you are saying about the dog doing so many dang things that there is larger room for error "oh i found them, now I have to find mom, now I have to find them again, etc." So then what if the victim moves.. then that's a whole other story.. must refind on the refind.. which i am sure happens from time to time. Not only that but with your dog roaming further, like Titan does, you are correct, i don't always have eyes on. I hear him.. and pay attention to my surroundings but things can happen because I can't see him.

not that you didn't know all those things but I just see the good and bad in both. I personally like the refind, especially for Titan. My reason is simply motivation. Titan seems to want to work more and get the job done in full before playing. before he would lose interest quickly if the victim waited until I got there to start playing or rewarding which how we started training in Germany. Knowing that he has to find the person and get mom back to the person THEN play.. seems to be working for him as far as motivation and understanding the game. I try to avoid having the victim play with the dog a whole lot because I need him to realize that MOM has the toy.. not the victim that he needs to make sure MOM is here because the victim won't play with them.

Like i said I see both sides, I think it all comes down to the team and your preferences as a trainer and what your dog responds to better. Is it a little more complex.. yeah but if the dog can learn it and excel at it.. i think it is fine. And yes you are correct with the 2 different commands.. because one is initiating a new search telling him to find me someone new by yourself and the other is to bring me to the person you found.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,742 Posts
I've only read about the refind, only bark alert, so I can't have a proper opinion, but for all I've read and heard I see more problems arising than advantages, at least with good dogs. With dogs with some insecurities I've wondered if they would work better with a refind alert, but as I said, I've never really trained it... nor I want dogs with insecurities...

Now, I have an IRO certified dog too, but she does go out of sight and we train for a good range of autonomy. In both certification tests, urban and wilderness, the judge designed the scenarios for the dog to work where he can't see the handler (and therefore the handler can't see the dog either) so while I train for a bark alert I don't correlate it with being out of sight or not.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
I have trained it, all our air scent dogs use it. Other teams use it. The main issue is proper training as it can break down with the dog not going all the way into the victim. If you do not reinforce/reward the initial find or the trained indication it will get sloppy. It is just a chained behavior. Back chain it to train it works well. Reward the parts of the chain.


I am traveling this week and typing on a phone so not much talk! But it really seems to work well. The dogs normaly don't range out of sight scanning for the odor (at least our dogs) but when they hit the odor they take off and follow to source and us humans can't quite keep up that pace.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top