Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lesson 31: How to Find a Person with Your Dog

How to
Find a Person with Your Dog

In the event of a lost and missing loved one or friend your family dog can be your best resource for a swift recovery.

Why? Because your dog is closer to the location then official search dogs who have to be called in which takes anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days.

Do you want to wait this long to start looking? 
I don’t think you should either.

Your dog is fast and has a very good nose. Regardless of their age or breed all dogs have very good scenting ability and they know where we are when we don’t even consider they do.

A dog keeps track of the pack in ways we haven’t even thought of. They know where everybody in the pack is at so why not ask them to find a missing pack member? 

I see no reason why not to try this during this type of incident.

While you wait for officials ask your dog where the person is then follow your dog.

1 dog on a search equals 100 police doing a line search over an open space so which do you think has better odds?

If you’ve followed any of the search dog lessons on this site then if a loved one is missing you will know what to do.

Give your dog the scent article and follow your dog...That is all there is to it.

Do not try to out guess or think for your dog, do not think at all about where or what the person may of done. 

Your thinking interferes with the dog’s work because you do not have a nose or the 7th sense to know where pack members are like a dog, you will never know how this dog is doing this incredible feat so let them do what they know by only following them without giving them any direction at all.

Thinking for the dog is the biggest mistake search dog handlers make and this is why the dog will come up empty handed and this is the only reason.

When the dog is following the handler’s directions instead of their own nose they end up off course because the handler has no idea where the person is and does not trust the dog to do as they are asked.

Trust your dog and follow your dog to the missing person.

Here is an example of lost person incident where your dog can help you.

Let’s say you’re at a playground with a young child who wanders away. You can’t find the child anywhere and remember your dog can. 

You either call home for somebody to bring your dog or you go home as you call police and get your dog.

 Maybe your dog is as close as the car in the parking lot.

LKL: The very last place you saw the child standing or the exact location or object they touched is the most important aspect of a successful rescue.

Guard and Save the LKL and Scent: You can use a tissue paper or paper towel to wipe the scent of your lost person from the equipment or bench when you are waiting for your dog.

If you have to wait for your dog, guard the last known location or the spot of scent with your life. Do not let anybody or thing contaminate the last thing your child touched on the playground.

If you have to go get your dog, ask somebody at the playground to keep other people and animals away from the place the child had been sitting or playing.

As soon as your dog arrives at the scene, the playground, take your dog to the last piece of equipment or bench your child was playing or sitting on. 

Give your dog a smell of a scent article (the paper tissue) from the person or point to the bench the person was sitting on. 

Let your dog smell the bench, equipment or the tissue paper that has only your scent and your lost child’s scent on it.

Once your dog has had time to smell the scent then ask them to find the person and follow your dog.

Many dogs do not look like they are doing much in the way of trailing; they kind of wander around a bit. 

Trust your dog.

There is no rush because if you had not tried you would be waiting, doing nothing for others to come to the rescue. 

The time following your dog is well spent even if your dog looks like they are not working. As long as they are moving forward they are on the move doing what you asked the best they can.

Every dog works its own way and if you allow them to do so, all you do is follow them around as they work the scents which are drifting all over on the air currents.

You would be wandering around aimlessly too if you were following scents drifting all over mixed in with millions of other scents.

Let your dog do this incredible feat and find that child before officials arrive, you can be safe and sound back at home with your dog and child.

 I believe with the cutbacks nationwide in our community service branches, including law enforcement, fire and rescue that this is a very important lesson for you and your dog to learn.

We may not be able to count on the police if they are all laid off.

We will have to depend on our own resources as more and more cutbacks occur.

You can be ready with your dog by your side to take care of yourself.

With practice, you can become self reliant instead of overwhelmed until officials arrive.

To learn more about searching with dogs, mantrailing and Bloodhounds you can visit one of my mentors, Bloodhound Expert and Mantrailing training method founder, Scent Sleeve inventor, Bill Tolhurst, website Home of the Big T 

Be sure and scroll down the page for a list of his books.

Bill Tolhurst "Each Step Begins a New Trail"

Thursday, April 26, 2012













Confusion Fear Anxiety Loss

Panic Shock Death 










This is a test of the Family Disaster Dog Network


In the event of an extreme emergency, natural or manmade disaster, terrorist attack, fire, earthquake, tsunami, tornado, flood, landslide or economic collapse and it’s the end of the world as you know it.

In other words, when all hell breaks loose...and you are ordered to Evacuate or Decide the Safest route is to Bug-Out, slip away or run...don’t forget you trained your dog using these lessons.


As your dog wakes the household by alerting and rounding up family members, you will be waking and preparing to go.

Each family member once dressed will grab their own backpacks with emergency supplies as you and your trained family disaster dog grab family go-bags and 72 hour ready packs with extra food or supplies you want to load in the car to evacuate.

Willie's Ready

Your dog will follow your commands as your family prepares to  leave instead of hiding or getting in your way, your dog will know what to do too.

Your dog will carry its own food and supplies in a dog backpack giving you more room in your own backpack and your dog has room in its pack for extra supplies for the family.

These simple steps are preplanned out ahead of time.

Critical time is saved with the help of your dog.

This scenario will be the same if you were walking out to a safe preplanned location or to the street in front of your house.

Any item you need that you have taught your dog to retrieve for you, such as flashlights or extra boots, backpacks can be fetched by your dog and dropped where you have taught your dog to take the items. For instance, in the car, truck, shelter in the back yard or out to the street away from falling objects.

Now when the warning goes off all you do is evacuate and find shelter in a safe location with your loved ones and supplies.


Be sure to write on your house that all living beings have left the building or which pets remain behind for rescuers who come to check up on you.

Your dog will know from training and family evacuation drills what to do and so will your family which will reduce stress, fear and trauma.

This alone can save your life because more people get injured from panic then anything else during a mob situation or huge evacuation.

Set up camp with your family, bring out the pre-packed snacks from your rescue pack and celebrate!

You and your family dog did it!

Your family is safe; your dog is with you.

Wait for officials to find you or fix the disaster.

Do not leave your safe location unless you have a very good reason.

Daisy with her gear on

The next post will outline what to do when a loved one is lost and how to use your dog to find them. Be safe, have fun preparing with your dogs.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lesson 30: Teaching Dog Retrieve Object By Name

Update: July 2017 Click for Family Disaster Dogs on Amazon..only $3.49 for all the lessons, dog bug-out bag list, Pet CPR and more
Lesson 30 
Teaching your Family Dog to Go-Get the First Aid Kit
Dog Retrieves Items as Directed
Name that Object!

Once your dog is playing fetch and retrieving it is time to add-on “go-get survival gear” for you in case you can’t reach the gear and other objects by name that you and your family will need.

Service dogs retrieve items for their owners daily, they open doors and find wallets,keys and cell phones. Your family dog can do the same if you teach them the name of the item you want.

During the retrieval lessons you will be teaching your dog to associate the word with the gear and the name of objects.

Start slowly, one item at a time. Start with small items and work up to larger heavier objects. As an example, let’s use a small first aid kit, show this to your dog and tell your dog the name, like, ”Medkit” .

 Keep the name or command simple and short.  First Aid Kit is to long of word.
A soft carry case first aid kit like the one pictured is a good example.

Hide the “Medkit” with your dog watching then ask your already trained scenting dog to "find" the “Medkit” by name. Or toss the item as you say “Medkit”, for your dog to fetch and bring back to you.

Praise your dog.

To teach your dog to bring you gear and items by name once your dog is retrieving, you are basically going to be teaching the dog the names of the objects so you can send them to retrieve for you.

Teaching your dog the name of the objects you might need during an emergency or disaster situation can be done during all of the lessons by simply including the name of the object while you’re training.

Some of these Family Disaster Dog lessons are retraining your dog to do things they were taught not to do as puppies and teaching them the name of an object they were previously told to leave alone will take longer then had they never been conditioned to leave the object alone.

For this reason, always say your dog’s name and following the name use the same word to name each object or word you want your dog to learn to retrieve for you.

If you incorporate the name of the object into the training you will be surprised how quickly your dog can learn our words. We often forget to speak to our dogs or give them a chance to show us they know our words.

Always allow your dog time to show you and read your dog like they have to read us in order to work as our teammate.

Which items will you need your dog to get for you? Which words do they have to learn?

Large dogs can learn to get your go-bag or bug-out bag and their own dog backpack and take these items to the front door or a location of your choice.

Large and medium size dogs can move a lot of things into a vehicle or to another location in the event that we have to evacuate or move locations.

Small dog’s can learn to grab small items, like first aid kits, flashlight, maps, your purse or wallet. In an emergency I would consider my wallet very safe if my dog was holding onto it.

With practice your dog can learn to find the car keys and meet you at the car while you are getting the family to the car to evacuate. It would be great to see your dog waiting with the keys in the car.

Do teach these skills, all you do is plan the lesson on paper, then set up the session where you run through what you want your dog to do, step by step you will show your dog the way you planned them to take, and the items you want them to pick up, and where to go and then ask your dog to lay-stay or sit-stay or return to you.

Repeat the steps again and again on different days using the same commands for your dog to "go get gear" and "load car", take your dog to each gear item say "get gear" then "load car" , take your dog to the car where they deposit the item and you repeat the steps with the next item.

Praise and love at the end for a job well done. Encourage them and help until they get the idea.

Assign each object you want your dog to know a name, always use the same word. Always use your dog’s name first or they might think you are talking to somebody else.

Repeat your lesson plane several times over a couple of week’s time without any changes and your dog will learn what you want.

Only after the first job or mission is mastered do you introduce another plan or job for your dog to learn and do the same as before by repeating the exercise until your dog has mastered the lesson over a couple of weeks.

At other times when your dog is with the object, always get in the habit of speaking with your dog by saying the objects name.

If you are packing the baby's bag- say “ baby's bag”; when you pick up your wallet or handbag show your dog and say "wallet",  if you are getting into the car- say “car”, walking to the back yard-say “yard”, when getting your dog's  water- say ”water” because someday you may need your dog to find water for you.

Just like a human child with time and practice, animals, can learn our language too.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun Activities by Wendy Nan Rees

This article from Wendy Nan Rees fit so well with what we are teaching here at Family Disaster Dogs that we wanted to share her sound advise here for all our followers and trainees.

This article also appears on Wendy's blogs, A Dog's Voyage Around the World here and Wendy's Animal Talk here . Be sure and subscribe to Wendy Nan Rees, Expert Pet Lifestyle Adviser for more pet tips.

Prepare Dogs for Earthquakes and TornadoesWith the increase in tornados and earthquakes around the world this year we thought it would be a good idea to post some fun activities to do with your dog from Wendy Nan Rees that can lead to your dog being your helper during an earthquake or tornado and in the event that a loved one is missing.

By Wendy Nan Rees

It is often stated that the more you play with your dog the more likely you both will stay together.
Just like a marriage or a dating relationship it’s up to us to make it a Friendship. Everything in our life is worth having and you have to be willing to put work into it to get what you want out of it!

I am asked every single day now that I have a new Puppy in training to become by personal service dog did you buy him this way or are you doing the work yourself?

My answer is, I am doing the work!

Why do I want another person to train my dog, if I am able to train him myself and I’m able to gain the bonding experiences?

Play also offers the bonding of the training and the mental triple threat to help tucker out Fido and to insure your both happiness. Exercise is as important for dogs as it is for people. It helps them stay healthy and helps prevent them from gaining weight. Well-exercised dogs are better behaved and less likely to test their limits indoors by chewing on furniture or releasing pent up energy.

Usually, those “bad” behaviors are a sign that your dog is antsy and needs a good play session or a long walk. Fortunately, exercise can be easily incorporated into your dog’s routine. Here are some ideas

As often as you can, take your dog for a walk instead of just letting him out into the yard to do his business. It’s great exercise for both of you!

• If you jog or run and your dog can keep up, take her along.
• Do you enjoy Frisbee? Let your dog play with you.

Try dancing with your dog, staircase sprints, tether ball, or monkey in the middle!

Today, they have an activity which now has a real name and many groups of people are enjoying this sport.

I personally have not tried this. I see groups of 3-4 people exercising with their dogs all the time. This fun activity it is called “Bikejoring “ and this is where you ride a bike and then Fido also pulls you along.

Now this I would love and gives me ride ideas.

Another growing sport is called “canicross” this is where you and your dog are doing a cross country course on a bike and attached by the waist using a harness that has the ability to also absorb shock.

And, a sport that is now growing again called “ Carting” this is where your dog pulls you and a very light weight cart. In some cases you race others as a group of carters out for a day of pleasure carting. This is something you can join classes to learn from beginning all the way up.

The wonderful sport of the “flying disk” and Fido catching it has kept on growing from the 70’s and today they have contests all over the world where you can learn and join in on many different levels.

Another interesting thing I learned is that there is even a sport type drink for your dog that is made to look just like our Gator Aide®. It is called Rehydrate Sports Drink for your Dog®..

Hunting and doing the field trials you do not have to kill to be involved in this sport as today they can and do use the dummy which has the scent of a bird and then you teach your dog to go fetch or point. Many of the different breeds offer different styles of how they retrieve.

Teaching Fido how to track a scent is one in particular that grabbed my interest and led to meeting Amber Higgins, founder of Family Disaster Dogs, who has since joined our team as my producer with her retired Bloodhound, Daisy.

Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham
Expert Bloodhound

I did a little research and here is a sneak peak of what I found and suggestions for creating your own “Sent Hunt” at home.

If you are interested in learning more about scent training, I found that that there is not a standardized common name for “Scent Hunt Classes”, but rather they fall under some of the names listed below.
1. Nose Work Class
2. DOG TRAINING Utility Class – Scent Discrimination
3. Scent Tracking Classes- Dog
4. Practical Dog scent training
5. Bring the Scent Hound Out in Every Dog Classes
6. Getting Started Tracking Classes
7. Scenting with a purpose (my personal favorite)
8. K9 Nose Work Classes
9. The Dog Nose
10. Cold Nose College
11. Family Disaster Dogs

The wonderful thing about Scent work is that your dog is able to do what he loves and is naturally born to do. This is not only great exercise but also a bonding experience and gives your dog a mental as well as physical work out.

Here are a few common terms and resources you should familiarize yourself with if you’d like to start your own “scent hunt.”

SCENTING – this is actually the term for the sport and you may even choose to go onto competing against other dogs if your dog shows the interest and talent.

BOOKS-SCENT - K-9‘s Reason for being “, by Detective Steven White. It is an excellent resource that I recommend highly. A website that sells food and animal scents as well as hunting supplies.

In terms of introducing your dog to “scents”, the type of scent you use is very important and you need to consult with an expert to learn how to introduce the scents to your dog.

The best way to begin teaching a dog to scent for fun and exercise is usually with a food scents and the most commonly used ones are Anise and Birch as well as clove. They are all in the form of essential oils. Some apply the scents on cotton some others use leather straps and some use linen stripes. They are then concealed in a of box or card board.

note: If your dog is doing serious scent work like search dog work, refrain from using food scents in training. Learn More

And now, you’re ready for your mock hunt. The Idea of the game is for your canine friends to find the hidden scent. As your dog improves their skills, they can move outside and step up to hunting a scented ball or a dummy and then, once he’s mastered the skill and honed in on his nose, you can even add an obstacle course.

When your neighbors and their dogs are ready, it’s time to compete and this is where the fun begins. Give your judges a badge, a pad of paper and a timer, and let the games begin. The team that finds the mock fox or bird first wins!!!!

Now you move into advance obedience and the start of basic agility work to get really to start compete, remember this is open to any type of breed from my Chihuahua and my Yorkie. I have personally chosen to keep Senny home, my trained Bird lab.

The Cost run from $ 50.00 dollars to $ 100.00 per class / Serious for training

When it comes to completion each one has its own entry fee that you will have to see with each show. For more info please go to the National Association of Canine Scent Work

The web Site is at

Search-and-Rescue Dog Jobs

SAR dogs are trained to specialize in certain search and rescue techniques, much like people choose a major course of study in college.

Air Scent Dogs: track by smelling shed human skin cells that float in the air

Trailing (Tracking) Dogs: search by smelling the ground for a missing person’s scent.

Water Search Dogs: work along shorelines and on boats with search teams.

Human Remains Detection (Cadaver) Dogs: find dead bodies by detecting scents rising from the soil, similar to how dogs find buried bones.

A game of fetch may bore a human after a few rounds of, “Go get it!” and, “Drop it!” Golden retrievers are tireless fetchers, as are Border Collies and German Shepherds.

For some dogs, there’s nothing better than racing after a flying ball or Frisbee, capturing it, and bouncing back to the owner, who really plays the role of a human catapult.

Your dog isn’t shy about requesting a game of fetch. Usually, the “please” comes in the form of him producing his favorite ball and dropping it by your foot or in your lap.

In our Family Cappy & Senny just go wild for any kind of Ball! So we do the ball in water to help them swim and “retrieve” at the sometime it is just by chance that Capp’s Love for the ball have over ridden his normal what should I say?

Non swimming nature to make him a great Yorkie swimmer with our labs, Go Figure- it is a sight you really have to see one that draws its own crowd at the beach especially when I add a Chula into this mix.

Why do dogs go crazy for a game of fetch?

The fetch instinct is part of dogs’ DNA. In a pack, the top dog would go out hunting with other senior dogs to collect food for the entire group. He would chase after prey, fetch and retrieve food, then return home with the bounty to share. Fetch sparks dogs’ evolutionary prey instinct to find the most basic need: food. Today, dogs get all they can eat at home and fetch is playful and a way of pleasing their owners.

Now, about those dogs who love to fetch, but have no interest in dropping the ball or Frisbee? “Drop it” is a command you must teach to your dog. Again, dating back to dog instincts of the olden days, the top dog as the “hunter” got first refusal on the meat he retrieved for the pack. The one who fetched got first pick. Since your dog is fetching one item, you as the “pack member” get what’s left.

Train your dog to fetch by teaching “Go get it!” or “Go fetch!” and “Drop it,” so the game doesn’t turn into tug-of-war.

Here is a great first timer web site to go to if you are interested in learning more about this sport go to the web site Fun Nose Work

Cheers, Wendy Nan Rees

A note from Amber and Family Disaster Dogs,

First off we want to thank you for reading these great pet tips from Wendy!

I would like to add that any dog and owner who learn to do any of these fun activities can use these play sessions to prepare for an emergency event like an earthquake, tornado, flood and the worst, a missing loved one.

To learn how to incorporate these tips into a disaster plan for your home and to learn how to teach your dog to find your family members or friends if they are lost you can read the lessons online at Family Disaster Dogs.

Here is What to pack in your pet's Go-Bag, Evacuation Gear

We wish you all Happy Trails,
Barking Bar Productions

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lesson 29: Retrieve-Go Get

Retrieve and Go Get

Teaching the family dog to retrieve or go get objects for you can be one of the most helpful commands your dog learns. For instance, during an emergency, your dog can be asked to go get the first aid kit to enable you to be able to stay with the injured person.

Another area of survival that this skill can come into play during is in the event that you are trapped; your dog can bring you water or supplies plus bring rescuers to you.

Not to mention if you teach your dog the name for your keys, they can learn to find your keys when you can’t or sunglasses or whatever you lose often.

Teaching your dog the name of each item will be covered in the next lesson and added to your dog’s training while you teach your dog to retrieve or fetch.

Each disaster dog task your dog learns can be added onto other skills taught here for a well rounded education and all purpose Family Disaster Dog.

After your dog learns to retrieve or to go-get their toy or ball then you can ask your dog to find to find an object by name and bring it to you.

As with all lessons, start out slowly and build upon your dog’s success when learning to fetch a toy or ball with encouragement and praise.

This lesson is a great way to exercise your dog indoors and out. Many dogs have a favorite toy you can use to begin this lesson while other dogs could care less about a toy. It’s up to you to make this fun.

Teaching retrieve, go-get and fetch to your family dog is accomplished by teaching one stage or step at a time.

1. First get your dog’s interest in the toy

2. Chase or find the toy

3. Pick up the toy

4. Recall or come back with the toy

5. Drop or release the toy to you

To do so, use a soft toy, such as one of the furry animal like toys or a tennis ball. If your dog has a favorite toy then use it. 

Sit on the floor with your dog and play with the toy by shaking it, rolling it between your hands, bouncing it and drag the toy along the floor. You may have to snuggle the toy in your dog’s face to pretend like the toy is playing with your dog like dogs do. 

You may have to repeat this lesson a few times before your older dog shows any interest or if your dog acts like a Bloodhound whose wrinkles get in the way of seeing the toy. Bloodhounds are not big on retrieving because they can’t see most of the time with the head down, wrinkled fall in the way. Then the nose kicks in. 

It takes a few weeks of play to get an older Bloodhound attempting to bring a toy back too, or to play. They often think the right thing to do is to bring us to the toy and not the other way around. Don’t give up if your family dog acts like a Bloodhound. 

If your dog shows no interest after many attempts then stop and try again later and a couple of times a day using different toys and don’t give up. It may take your older dog time to realize they do not have to behave all the time like they were taught as pups to do. 

As a last resort, after many failed attempts to play you can use a food treat placed in the toy as incentive, and after you read about training with food treats in the training tip section and the toy method lesson. 

Once your dog has mastered playing with the toy you both have also mastered step 3 of the stages in teaching them to retrieve an object for you. Now we go back to step 2. Chase or find the toy in order for them to be able to bring it back to you.

If your dog is a Family Disaster Dog learning to do search work then you can hide the toy instead of teaching your dog to chase the toy or you can throw the toy during play and tell your dog to “get-it” or “fetch” .

Most dogs will be so into the game they will chase the toy but at first, they often stop and look back at us wondering why we didn’t chase the toy too? Or why did we stop playing instead of going with them.

This is when you encourage them to “get-it” or “fetch” again. At first you may have to run with your dog to the toy, get them to pick it up by playing with the toy and when they have the toy in their mouth both of you run back to where you started or threw the toy from.

After a few times, gradually reduce the distance you chase the toy with your dog to give your dog a chance to get to the toy first and at that moment, you will call your dog back to you toy. They may drop the toy in their excitement to return and if they do, encourage them to go back and get the toy before you praise them for coming back.

Only praise if they have the toy, otherwise send them back for the toy or go back with them to show them again.

The distance can be increased as your dog learns to return to you. Use encouraging words and commands like “fetch”, “over there”,” come”, “wait” whenever you can to direct your dog.

As your dog learns these words they learn how to follow your directions. Give your dog time to think about and understand what you’re asking and to carry the action out.

Step 4 has been completed when your dog is returning to you with the toy.

Give praise; ask your dog to sit and release the toy to you, or to “drop it”.

Say a command each time and your dog will learn the word for drop it or release, which can be a very import word for your dog to learn if they ever get a hold of something they are not suppose to have.

Your dog is now playing fetch and retrieving for you.

If your dog is slow to learn this lesson, don’t get discouraged. Remember each dog is an individual and learns at their own pace, and as a young puppy they were taught not to pick up most items found in our lives.

The next lesson teaches your dog the names of objects you might need during a disaster.

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