Friday, September 16, 2011

Lesson 9 Stop Bad Behavior

Stop Bad Behavior

Before we go any further in training the family disaster dog I want to stress that you should never get mad at a dog when you are asking them to do this type of training or at any time really, but especially with search dog training.

A dog who is going to help you look for a lost person or carry a backpack while you both make your way through rubble after an earthquake will not help you if the dog thinks you will get mad at them. Period. A dog can and will stop doing this helpful task for you if you try to force them in any way. 

The ability of the dog to come to the aid of its family or pack members, such as when they guard the home or car, is what is required in an emergency situation. The dog has to want to come to your aid and if your mad at them then why would they want to do that for you?

Most modern dog training methods use positive reinforcement cloaked in a variety of names, such as clicker training or drive motivation which both give the dog a reward for doing good and redirect the dog's bad behavior to a good behavior. 

In other words, the methods redirect the dog from the bad behavior by prompting them into paying attention to the clicker or toy, or dog treat then the dog is asked to do what the handler wants for the reward offered. Petting your dog and making a big deal out of their performance does the same thing. These methods avoid punishing the dog as do some forms of standardized obedience classes. 

Most obedience classes require a collar and leash which is used to direct the dog or show them what is wanted of them. Many classes require a choker or correction collar to be used as a way to get the dog to do what is asked. These collars are often misused or poorly explained and a collar that will tighten on the dog's neck such as these types of collars should not be used in search dog training. 

If you use one of these collars on your dog, please remove it while doing these lessons and replace it with a flat collar and ID tag. Not only will the removal of the correction collar allow the dog to move forward on a trail to find a person without wondering when a correction will happen, the dog is learning to work in different equipment that tells the dog the job they will be doing. 

Family dogs do not need any extra obedience training to participate in these disaster dog lessons but every dog has its day of getting in trouble and a well behaved pet is a much easier student to teach. 

If a dog is doing something bad, like chewing a sock or getting into the trash, one of the best ways to stop them is to call them to you. If your dog is not one to come when called then use a treat or get their toy and say "hey, look what I have".

You play with their toy or toss the treat up and catch it then see how long they stay with your sock. 

Doggie will want the toy you have because you make what you are doing more fun looking.

Put your sock away, give them the toy instead and play a little with them to show them this makes you happy.

Keep in mind the floor is the dog's world.

You live above them other then your feet, most everything on the floor they may think of as their own until they learn what belongs to you. Your dog might think you left that sock there just for him and wasn't that nice of you. He'll wonder how come you came in and all of a sudden yelled at him and took it away, some friend you are. 

When you are calling your dog to you when the dog does a bad behavior and otherwise, you should always use the dog's name first with the word come. If you do not use the dog's name they may think you are calling the cat or your mate, not them. You give them the perfect excuse not to respond. 

Always speak in a positive tone. Do not expect the dog to come to you if you sound mad, why would they want to come to you if you are mad that they found your sock ? The dog might think you should be happy because they are cleaning up after you. You tossed the sock.

If you always praise your dog for coming to you when called then what they are doing wrong will not matter because all you have to do is call them to stop the behavior. 

To reinforce the redirection from the bad behavior we have to not only call the dog but also  give the dog something else to do, such as using the sit or lay commands.  We have to ask them to do something for us, like sit or lay which will completely take the dog's mind off of what they were doing that was bad. After they do this good thing for you then give them the full praise of play time or treats as the reward. 

In summary, 

If your dog is, let's say, chewing a sock then call your dog to you. 

When the dog reaches you by coming when called, even if they bring you the sock...give a slight, small praise as encouragement but:

Do not give them the treat or play time until you have them do something like "sit" in front of you or if they are holding your sock, say "drop the sock". 

When they sit or drop the sock, finish by praising your dog. 

As mentioned above, if your dog brings you... a sock then accept the sock and give your dog its toy instead of the sock. If your dog was getting into the trash then put the trash where the dog can not get to bag. 

Dog homes have to be dog proofed just like a home with children has to be child proofed. 

If you have a very bad problem dog, email for help by joining the Google group at the right.

Read the Lesson about encouraging a dog to be the best that they can be and lesson 10 Come when Called for more about training dogs in manners and obedience.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lesson 8 Burn Out

Avoiding Burn Out

To get a thinking dog... only train 2 or 3 days or times a week 

Once a week works just as well as 2 or 3 days of lessons

Never train more then 3 days a week

Dogs, just like people can experience "Burn Out" from over working or over thinking an exercise or situation. Burn out in dogs happens when a dog becomes confused about what is expected of them or when they get bored from doing the same lesson over and over again.

Dogs who work often with a high drive or those who are under a great deal of stress can show signs of being burnt out by becoming hyper-active. When this happens the owner may think the dog is trying to be the best that they can be by overacting when in fact the dog is struggling to stay up to par. Some breeds are prone to becoming hyper while others will flat out refuse to work. They may head out the back door when you pick up the leash or disappear under the bed. 

Burn out does not only happen to dogs who work or are under stress, family pets who are kept in a back yard all the time can become as bored as a dog who is walked on the same trail day after day or worked on the same obedience lesson day after day. 

After awhile of the same ole thing, the dog either lowers its head to go along with the owner's wishes or the dog shoots out the door saying, "what's else is there out here" either way the time has come to do something different.

Burn Out in Search and Rescue dogs who are training or working happens when the dogs are worked to often or pushed to fast in training. Do not skip lesson steps.

A dog does not remember the lesson any better if they repeat the lesson more then 3 or 4 times. Actually after about the 4th time the dog begins to operate in an automatic mode which is fine for winning an obedience trail but for disaster or emergency work we want your dog to be a thinker.

To get a thinking dog...and avoid burn out in your dogs then follow these tips.

Hold all food or water away from your dog for 20 minutes before and after training to avoid an upset stomach which can be mistaken as burn out or unwilling to obey.

Even on hot days do not water your dog right before or right after working the dog to the point that they pant or the tongue is out. Wait at least ten minutes and only give a few handfuls of water then allow the dog access to water 10 minutes later to avoid an upset stomach (they can not tell you how the tummy feels). 

If your dog is overheating before the 10 minute time limit then put water under your dogs underarm(leg) area, splash water behind the ears and on the stomach to cool down before allowing a drink of water.

Only train 2 or 3 days or times a week. 

Change the location.

Train one day then skip a day or two then train a day or two and skip a day. 

The day off is called a day for the dog to soak in what is taught. 

Give the dog a day to think of the lesson or longer if you want them more motivated.

If your dog gets bored, Skip 2 days or 3 days of training and try to make the time more fun for your dog.

Skip a week every now and then and your dog will look forward to getting back to training instead of dreading the next lesson.

If your dog gets hyper, skip a week and change the lesson. It is best to go back a lesson later and change the lesson or finish on a good note.

Once a week works just as well as 2 or 3 days of lessons.

Never train more then 3 days a week.

Only train for 30 minutes each day with your dog. Set up of tracking trails may require more people time and during set up the dog should be resting in the car or house.

Do every lesson until the dog really is doing the lesson well for a week or 2- 3 days (lessons) before moving onto the next lesson.

If the dog does not get the next lesson then go back to the previous lesson until the dog is sure.

This training is never rushed and search dogs require one to two years of training so no worries about not training enough!

Never get mad at your dog for not getting a lesson right, search dogs are always right!

Enjoy the lessons and let your dog have time to soak up the information !

Reading we enjoyed !

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and KnowA Dog's PurposeDogs

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lesson 7 Leash Work 3

Using the Long Tracking Leash  
Lesson 3 of 3

This 3rd lesson for using a long tracking or trailing leash for search dogs is spilt into 3 sections and postings listed at the right.

The first lesson is Lesson 5 Leash Work 1

The second section is Lesson 6 Leash Work 2

The third section is Lesson 7 Leash Work 3

This 3nd lesson in using a long leash for tracking and trailing continues where lesson 2 stopped.

Be sure to refresh yourself with lesson 2 before beginning this lesson.

How to Use the Long Tracking Leash 

Now the time has come to use your dog instead of a person as we did in lesson 2.

This Lesson is best done step by step and do not change the steps with this lesson or you will confuse your dog. 

This lesson is setting up the dog so they learn to take the clue that they will be tracking or trailing. They are putting on their Family Disaster Dog uniform.

This is best practiced in a large place without any obstacles. 

      If your dog is the off-leash type then have your dog stay walk with you and do not let your dog run all over the training area until this lesson is over.  
     If your dog will be on a short leash and taken to the training area then keep your dog on the short leash until you are ready to start this lesson.

     Using the dog’s short leash walk the dog to the area where you will be practicing, carry the long leash and harness with you.

     When you are at the spot where you will begin working a trail this is known as the LKL,

     or the " Last Known Location" of the person you will be searching for. 

     You will learn more about LKL later but keep in mind this is an important spot because;

     At this spot is where you put your dog in its equipment, the Harness and Long Leash.

    To begin;

  1. Have your dog stand or sit and put the harness on. 
  2. Do not change the short leash from the collar to the harness.
  3. Hold your dog with the short leash as you do put them in the harness.
  4. When you are ready to start, then snap the long leash on the back of the harness.
  5. Hold your dog by the collar and unhook the short leash, continue to hold your dog’s collar while you pocket the short leash for using to walk your dog back after you run a trail.
  6.  While holding your dog’s collar in one hand have the person who will hide run away from the dog, calling its name.
  7. Give the dog a smell of the person’s sock, drop the bag with the sock on the ground at this point in training but later you will pocket the scent article bag in the carpenter or hunting apron you have for the purpose.
  8.  As soon as your dog gets a good smell of the sock then release the dog’s collar while taking a hold of the long leash as explained above.
  9. Tell your dog to “Find them “and run with your dog to the person.
  10. Throw the leash behind you and handle the Long Leash as you learned in Lesson 6 Leash Work 2.
  11. Try to keep the dog in front of you, and not beside you or behind you.
  12. Have the other person call the dog, if the dog does not know what to do. 
  13. You have to get the dog moving in order to work with the leash.
  14. At this point in training the person does not have to hide. They can be across a big yard or field so the dog can easily lead you to them.
  15. Keep the leash high in the air and loose so the dog does not feel any pressure.
  16. You never want to jerk or discourage the dog when they are on the long leash.
  17. Let your dog take you to the person; try to make this fun and fast work with excitement so the dog enjoys this game.
  18. Be sure and use the leash as instructed and let your dog find the person.
  19. As you train more, both you and your dog will become experts in using the long leash.
  20. Only do this long leash lesson 2 or 3 times each day of training no more then 3 times in one week.
  21. Praise your dog when they do as you ask. Praise your dog tenfold when they find the person, even if the person called them.
  22. Do not train more then 3 times a week.
  23. Never “walk” your dog on the harness and long leash. Always use your short leash snapped to the collar. 
  24. When you reach the person you find then unsnap the long leash from the harness and snap the short leash to your dog's collar to walk back to the beginning of the trail. This will teach the dog that when you use the long leash they will be tracking.
  25. Keep in mind as you practice that your dog will learn to go by the amount of pressure that is on the leash.
  26. In time, you can learn to feel the tension and pressure on the leash and understand what your dog is doing when the dog smells.
  27. There will be more to come in advanced lessons but these three lessons will give you a few weeks training exercises with your dog.
  28. Enjoy and have fun.
  29. If you dog loses interest then skip a day of training, do something else and try again next time. They get tired of the same ole thing too.

Practice makes perfect and enjoy!

Use the left or right hand to hold the leash as explained in Lesson 2 

I often switch hands because I have many years experience with this method.

Notice the long leash thrown on the ground behind me.  

I do not hold all the leash in my hand to get tangled in.

I will not pay any attention to the leash behind me and as the dog moves away from me I let the leash out and as I get close to the dog I take the leash slack out and toss it behind trick once learned.

Notice the scent article bag I am holding and will pocket as I move off with the dog.

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