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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lesson 10-Hiding-Tracking Route

How to Make a Trail for the Tracking Dog to Follow

How to hide for a Tracking Dog

Read the Glossary Page for the meaning of dog training words used in this lesson that you may know.

 This lesson for training the family disaster dog does not require the dog.

10 or more squares of bathroom tissue paper and one volunteer to hide for your dog are required.

This lesson will show you how a person should hide indoors or outdoors when you are training your dog to search for a person. To make learning easiest for you and your dog the steps in this lesson should be followed exactly as they are explained here. You should not change the steps or add to the way this tried and true method of laying a trail is done.

The most important point to remember is that your dog should ALWAYS find the person who is hiding.

This training is not to out fox the dog and you must make sure that the person who will hide understands they are helping the dog learn a valuable lesson and they are not to try to trick the dog.

Never try to trick the dog into not finding a person because they will stop doing this task for you.

Remember the dog already knows how to find everybody within a large range of area around them but they do not know who you want them to find...and we are teaching the dog “who” to find how find.

Every time you train or work with your dog on tracking or trailing the person who will hide should be told beforehand how they will walk and set up the course for you and your dog to follow or work to reach them in the hiding spot.

For novice dogs that are beginning to learning tracking or trailing, you should always use a clean building free of other human scent or a field or yard where very few, if any, people have been in or walked on for at least 24 hours.

Use a natural surface to begin with, grass or dirt. Do not cross cement, pavement or water until the dog is in advanced lessons.

Judge the direction of the wind before making training course or laying a trail.

If there is a wind, the trail layer (person) and the trail will go into the wind. The breeze should hit the person’s face as they go to hide which will give the dog the advantage to learn how scent moves on the wind.

Later in advanced lessons the course will be set up to teach you and your dog how to work the wind.  For basic or refresher courses we always go into the wind.

Rain, heat and seasonal weather all affect the dog’s way of detection. These different factors and effects will be covered as lessons advance.

Follow these steps to make a trail for a dog to follow and find a person.

To Lay a Basic training Trail or Track

  1. Leave your dog in the car or house
  2. You and the Trail Layer walk to the LKL or where you will begin to work your dog.
  3. You remain at the LKL spot
  4. Trail Layer will rub one square of tissue paper on their skin then lay this paper at their feet
  5.  Trail Layer moves off to make the trail by slowly scuffing (dragging) their feet to release scent particles at the start of the trail to aid the dog.
  6. Trail Layer Scruffs or Slides their feet for 10 steps then stops and lays a piece of tissue there.
  7. The person does not move off of the trail which is the exact path they walk
  8. Trail Layer then walks off slowly in a straight line to a prearranged landmark where the will hide or make a corner.
  9. Every 30 or 40 steps along the path the Trail Layer will stop in place to put a piece of tissue for you to see and know your dog is on the right path.
  10. It will be okay if your dog walks a few feet left or right of the person’s path as long as the dog goes in the right direction to find the person but it is critical that the person stay on path.
  11. At every corner the Trail Layer will put one piece of tissue about 6 ft before the planned corner and one piece at the corner where they make the turn, and 6 ft pass the corner.
  12. This makes a corner where you will see 3 tissues in this order and when you reach this spot while working your dog, you will know that your dog should turn within 10 ft or so and in the direction the tissue points.
  13. The Trail Layer put 1 piece of tissue where they hide.
  14. Novice dogs should not be asked to learn corners until they are finding a person on a straight track or trail over and over without any mistakes which can take a month of two of lessons spaced once or two a week.
  15. The Trail Layer can hide in an open area by sitting or lying down if there is no wind the dog will work the ground scent but if there is a wind the dog will work the air scent. Read the scent page.
  16. A large cardboard box works well to hide in.
  17. Hiding around a corner of a building or tree is good but only go behind one corner or tree with a novice dog.
  18. Trail Layer remains at the hiding spot or end of the trail until found by you and your dog.
  19. As training advances the Trail Layer may have to the entire trail to age and doing so means they remain in hiding for 30 mins-1 hour. This time can be spent reading or fishing with proper planning.
  20. Advanced lessons trails can be planned where the Trail Layer is picked up by a car and returned to the hiding spot after the trail has aged.
  21. Always watch for other people or pets that might cross the trail you have just made in case your dog is distracted at the spot the person or pet crosses the line then you will know why.
  22. Only use one person for one trail per day per not use a different person if you want to do another trail the same day.
  23. You can use this same trail 3 or 4 times on the same day if you have the person stay put after you find them. In this case, you and your dog should walk back to the start by making a big circle away from the trail. You do not want your dog to learn to backtrack on the same path.

The next lesson will explain how scent behaves when scent leaves our body and why a dog can follow the scent of people.

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.

Tuesday, September 13, 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.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lesson 6 Leash Work 2

Using the Long Tracking Leash 2

This lesson for using a long tracking or trailing leash for search dogs is split 
into 3 sections and postings listed at the right or at the bottom of this page.

Long Dog Puppy Obedience Recall Training Agility Lead, Leash GREEN, BLACK, RED, BLUE, or ORANGE - by, Pet Supply City, LLCThe 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 2nd lesson of 3 lessons in using a long leash for tracking and trailing  continues where lesson 1 stopped. 

Be sure to refresh yourself with lesson 1 before beginning this lesson.

This lesson begins by first using a person, children work great! 

As a pretend dog for you to learn how to use the long leash without 
getting caught up or tangled in the leash. 

A dog can tangle and trip you in seconds, possibly injuring both of you.

Using this leash is not as easy as it looks but you will catch on quickly if you 
follow these instructions.

1.  Have your pretend doggie stand with their back to you; hook the snap of the long leash on the person’s waist band or belt loop at their back.

2.  Hold a piece of the leash about 2 feet from the snap in your left hand.

3.  Use your right hand to hold the rest of the leash.

4.  Using your right hand, throw the entire long leash behind you.

5.  Keep a hold of your dog with the leash in your left hand.

6.  Do not pay any attention to the part of the leash you tossed,let it drag behind you.

7.  Holding the leash in the left hand, use your right hand to take up a piece of the leash that is lying across your body. Now the leash is in both hands with maybe 2 ft hooked to your dog and the rest behind you on the ground.

8.  At this point, you are ready to start moving.

9.  Have your person start walking and as they walk away from you let the leash slide through your left hand and use your right hand to feed the leash to your left hand. Sounds tricky but once you get the hang of it; this really makes using the leash easy.

10 Have the person stop walking and as you walk towards them, pull the leash back to you with your right hand sliding it through your left hand.

11 As you walk and pull throw the extra leash you pull in with your right hand behind you. Just toss it and keep walking.

12 Keep practicing with the person going different speeds and stopping.

13. Once you are comfortable using the leash like this then have the person make turns and go in different directions just like a dog does.

 Practice this until you know what you are

Then go to the Next Lesson


Friday, September 2, 2011

Lesson 2; To Leash or Not

To Leash or Not to Leash 

This lesson covers why some dogs use a leash when looking for lost people and other dogs do not. This will help you decide which way works best for you and your dog.

How to use the long tracking leash when Trailing and Tracking with your dog is taught during each lesson and outlined on Lesson 1, Tracking Overview.

 As you can see by the pictures of Sambo working in a harness, we are using a very long leash or lead.  A long tracking lead like the one pictured is most often used to allow the dog extra room to work an area over without the handler interfering.

Mantrailing Training

Most Bloodhounds are worked on a leash while other breeds are often worked off leash due to other breeds paying attention to a handler more then a Bloodhound does.

No pun intended, a Bloodhound on a trail is working from natural ability and instincts without any direction from a handler while other breeds are working a trail from the training they have received and the commands from a handler. The Bloodhound is trailing and the other dog is tracking, there is a large difference in the two ways the dogs use their noses.

The leash below is the type a Bloodhound Handler uses..A Retractable leash is not recommended.

Another reason a long leash is used with a Bloodhound is that the Bloodhound is known as a silent tracker/trailer because the dogs generally do not bark or bay while running a trail like Beagles and Coonhounds do.

Some Bloodhounds do get excited at the beginning and end of a trail and some will work very quickly but others are more caution and careful not  to miss any smells. They work slowly and surely.

Bloodhounds are different in many ways from other breeds which is why there are few Bloodhounds working in comparison to other breeds. Bloodhounds do not train well or respond to directions from handlers well while using their noses and this makes them difficult for some people.

Consequently, we have to use a leash when we ask a Bloodhound to find a person in order to stay with the dog and know when the dog finds the person, otherwise a loose Bloodhound might find the person and happily lay down with them to cuddle instead of coming back to let the handler know they did the job.

Other breeds are taught to find a person off leash and return to the handler or bark to indicate the found person so the handler can find them. These dogs rely on the owner or handler to work with them in finding the person. Obedience training and off leash hand signals or direction can be given to the dog by the handler so the two work as a team in searching for evidence or a missing person.

Your family dog can learn to work with a leash like a Bloodhound and also off a leash like an area scent dog or an off-lead tracking dog. You will will learn the difference between tracking, air scenting and trailing in upcoming lessons. The method you decide to use will depend upon your dog. Not the breed of your dog but how well your family pet does what you say off a leash.

Many family dogs never use a leash and pay attention very well to their owners. These dogs will respond to training faster then the house dog who is use to be kept on a leash and walked or a dog without any training. Do not worry either with or without a leash works for a family disaster dog because this type of training does not require obedience.

If your dog has no other training then you can train your pet like a Bloodhound, on a leash.

If you want your dog to understand commands then read through the other lessons on this blog to teach your pet manners and how to behave in different situations while responding to sit, come, stay, down, heel.

You can also take an obedience class offered in your community while you continue to work on the disaster dog lessons.

While attending other classes, Please be sure and spread the word about Family Disaster Dog Site so others can learn how to use their dogs during emergencies too.

Email us for Free F.D.D. Posters/Handouts to give out or post in your community. 

Any age of dog can be trained using a leash or not.

The older dog may take more teaching then a puppy. Do not get discouraged if your dog does not learn right away. This is supposed to be fun and the family dog, like all Search Dogs, are in training for a life time not for a short time.

Unlike other dog training classes this  type of training does not require a time agenda or daily practice. Family Disaster dog training can be done any time you have spare time because all you do is go out and play with your dog whenever you want, wherever you want.

You have the rest of your dog's life to train and play for a disaster which we hope you never have to use. Keep this type of training fun for you and your dog.

How to use a long leash and work a search dog on a lead will be covered on the Leash Work lesson.

How to train your dog to work off leash will be covered on the Off Leash Lesson Post.

Off leash and On leash dogs in training should own a Leather Leash like this 6 ft long leash pictured.

Click on Links on the Left to go to Another Lesson

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
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Welcome UK and Worldwide Visitors

Welcome UK and worldwide visitors and friends to Family Disaster Dogs online! Although I'm an American author and dog professional the worldwide web has given me the opportunity to connect with some wonderful folks who have contributed pictures for my books. The "Start Mantrailing" book features RRI K9 North Scotland trained Search and Rescue Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates training in the book, plus American dogs using my training methods. A portion of sales of the Start Mantrailing book or copies were donated to RRI North Scotland. The children's picture book "My Puppy Can Find Me" has my daughter and bloodhound as illustrations by UK cartoonist Scotty King. You can find the books on Amazon UK or use the contact page to order from me. When you click the links will take you to your own county pages of this site.

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