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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My "homework" is to pick what I want Elsa to do for an indication of a find. I have decided I don't want her to do the body slam. I'm thinking a bark? She hardly ever barks, so I would be able to pick up on it.

What does everyone else use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks guys! I'm going to really have to think about this one. The body slam makes me way too nervous. Most of the searches the group I'm getting involved with are local on somewhat flat ground, but they can be deployed all over the state. I really can't imagine being on a gorge of somewhere in the High Peaks on a steep hill getting body slammed by Elsa.

As far as a bark and hold...same thing here as what others have concerns about. It will be mostly wilderness and I don't think that will work out. Especially everyone on the team is trained for a refind right now.

I'd say her most natural behavior is sitting when she gets to me, but she ALWAYS does that. She's a very "polite" dog and loves her fronts, so that's almost automatic. I'm not sure if I could train out of her doing that on a day to day basis enough for it to be an effective indicator. Same with downs. If she thinks I want something from her, she usually will just throw herself on the ground.

Barking is NOT natural to her, which I thought might be beneficial because I would have no question at all that she was alerting me. But it sounds like that might be too hard to train if she isn't a natural barker?

Sooo. How about using my leg as a target, but not the full on jump? Maybe I can kind of get her to paw my calf/shin or something like that.

Ahh! I knew this was going to be a tough thing to do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes Nancy that is correct :)

As far as reward. I have always used tennis balls for everything but there is some concern when I am training that our "victims" might get bitten when she grabs it on the find. Soooo. I'm looking for something else that rivals the tennis ball chop. She is easy to motivate, but she'll rip our couch apart or almost knock over a bookcase to get to those things!
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
It's so bizarre...I swear she thinks that a string on her tennis ball is an insult. I've tried the teeniest string I can find and jam it through...and when I use it the first time she looks so insulted about it. Haha. It's quite amusing. But frustrating. She still likes it, but not nearly enough as a nekked tennis ball. But I am determined to find one she loves just as much!

ETA: Do you have pictures of said floating ball on a rope? I'm curious to see it! And my hubby and I go to Europe a lot (he's from there). Next time I go if I find one, I'll smuggle some back here! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I agree probably stick with what motivates the dog - if the reward system ain't broke don't fix that.

I think training him to take it politely is not a bad thing though and I got some pointer on that after I accidentaly got nailed.

Mine doesnt really seem to care what toy I use is as long as he can tug on it or chase it - I just really like THIS toy because it floats and that is a plus for water work and he has never pulled the rope through unlike he has on the kongs. Darned things have a few years on them and are only now starting to wear apart. plus it will fit in a tennis ball holder

Ropeball Floater Large by Happy Pet Products Ltd - Amazing Animal Accessories - Online UK Pet Shop
Oooh, I like it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Training The Indicator

We had team practice again today and I talked to the training coordinator a little bit more about the pros and cons of various indicators and I came home to play around with a few things.

The first thing that I decided to try was pawing at my thigh. I thought this would be a good medium between the body slam and a passive indicator. Here's 5 minutes after our first attempt (šapa means "paw" in Bosnian/Croatian where my husband is from).


I didn't think about filming the training until after we had done it a couple times. But for anyone interested in SAR and doing something similar, here's what I did:
I put a "target" (white paper plate folded up) on my thigh and held food there with a closed fist. I held it there while she nudged my thigh with her nose, and rewarded when she got antsy and put her paw on me. Did it a couple more times until she was slapping the target with her paw. Then I incorporated the word šapa. Then removed the target and kept my hand in place and moved her away from me to do the command. Right now that's the spot we're at.
 
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