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Saturday, September 22, 2012

From Your Dog

My Willie G Dawg
From your dog;

The years go so very fast and before you know it that romping pup is old and grey muzzled and they have sat by our sides while we read, watch TV, and work on our computers. Every so often they come and lay their heads in our laps, toss our elbow with their muzzle or gaze into our eyes and wait for us to notice them. Take a moment now to commune.

"I am your dog, and I have a little something I'd like to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and running there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The gray hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time? That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land. I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just "one more day" with me. Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me.

Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham 
We have NOW, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as "alpha" or as "trainer" or even "Mom or Dad," come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another's eyes and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general.

You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a "Dog on two feet" -- I know what you are and who you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if only for 15 minutes. Look deep into my eyes, and whisper into my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy, and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, but we do have today, and life is oh so very short. So please -- come sit with me now and let us share these precious moments we have together.

Love, on behalf of canines everywhere.

Your Dog."-Author Unknown-

Family Disaster Book is in editing stage !

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Family Disaster Dogs News



Family Disaster Dogs News 

Along with working on the Family Disaster Dog manual which is almost finished, Amber's been putting together and planning for Free Community Family Disaster Dog  Meets here on the Oregon coast. 

9-11 Rescue Dogs and All War Dogs Tribute 

This Month is 

National Disaster Preparedness Month in America

In Memory of Sue

From the CDC;

Preparedness for All Hazards

Emergency preparedness requires attention not just to specific types of hazards but also to steps that increase preparedness for any type of hazard. The resources at CDC site are intended to help people take an all-hazards approach to preparedness.
In Memory of Jed Clampett's Remmington
Thank you Pam Andrews

Sire to many of the author's Wrinkledpups Bloodhound line of Search Dogs

Stay Informed
Being prepared means staying informed. Check all types of media – Web sites, newspapers, radio, TV, mobile and land phones – for global, national and local emergency and survival information. During an emergency, your local Emergency Management or Emergency Services office will give you information on such things as open shelters and evacuation orders. 
Learn how your dog can help you survive during emergencies and disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes,tornadoes and floods. If a family member or loved one is ever lost, your dog can find them if you know how to ask your dog. 

Learn how on on the lesson page 

Our Disaster Dogs come in all sizes

Monday, September 3, 2012

Temperature and Scent affects Working Dogs

Earth Cycles and Scenting

Temperature and Scent

working a pup
Mantrailing dogs and other scenting dogs do best during certain times of the day due to weather conditions and natural earth cycles. These factors are present in every training exercise and on every actual search incident.

With practice these natural influences can be used to your dog’s advantage or disadvantage depending on the following aspects that are related to how the wind, rain and air temperature transports the scent your dog follows.

The Science of Scent is quite complex and for easier understanding I’m going to stay away from the scientific side of scent and discuss, in layman terms, how scent is affected by the weather. This can be a confusing but interesting topic.

To begin with, Earth cycles influence the air temperature of day and night, the speed of the wind and how rain storms are formed, which in turn, affect the scent particles your dog will follow.

Air temperature affects the work of a search dog in more ways than only the dog’s performance when it is to hot or cold outside. We all know the heat of the day can make us feel less active or and more active. The hotter the temperature the less we want to work. The same is true of our dogs.

Day and Night Temperatures

Wrinkledpups daisy

The earth breaths in a regular cycle each day as the sun heats the day beginning with a cool crisp morning then warms to high temperatures in midafternoon and decreases to cool again at dusk.

This earth cycle is extremely important to a serious mantrailing dog handler or scenting dog because as the earth cycle repeats day after day, the scent particles and surfaces all around us dry up and loose the freshness of dawn heating throughout the day then cooling to re-moisten and expand overnight.

Throughout the increasing heat of the day, water and moisture in the scent particles evaporate. The surfaces and the scent become dry. Similar to how a surface will become dry in the sunshine so does the scent particles on the surface of everything around us.

Moisture and scent particles are absorbed by surfaces and objects during this drying out period of the day then later released or replenished with moisture when the sun begins to go down and the day cools off.

This means during certain times of the day, the particles of scent will be more difficult to detect due to the loss of moisture in everything. Scent particles are still there but shrunk in a sense and can be detected under certain circumstances.

This aspect is naturally adjusted in the dog by increased panting and the production of more saliva and a wetter nose.

This is why search dogs and tracking dogs should be kept hydrated at all times and well watered in order to produce a wet nose. Always carry water and wet your dog’s nose for better scenting ability in hot dry weather.

Mild temperatures will affect the dog’s nose less but more with distance. For instance, when a dog begins to dehydrate after tracking for several miles the nose will dry up and scenting ability begins to drop.

At this point a dog may lose the scent, go off track or stop trailing or tracking the trail or scent not because the trail has disappeared but because their nose is dry.

As the Earth breathes in this natural cycle every day, and scent dries up, the particles are absorbed inward on surfaces. When the temperature cools, the scent particles are released.

This is why wild animals are not as likely to hunt or seek food during the heat of the day; they lay and wait for the cooling cycle to begin in the late afternoon.  When the day starts to cool off moisture is released from the earth and all surfaces expand releasing scent particles giving them help in the hunt.

As the day temperature cool and night falls, you can feel the moisture come out of forest and grasslands, and see it in gardens and lawns as dew in the morning.

The ground outside actually inhales all day in one long breath then exhales overnight in oxygen. Just like we and our dogs breaths so does Mother Earth.

Trees and plants absorb the air around us during the day and release oxygen at night replenishing the earth as part of the earth’s cycle. Scent particles are in the air, trees and plants.

The day’s temperature plays a role in how quickly the scent particles will be released or if they stay dry making them move more easily on the wind. The surface comes into play when the surface changes from grass, dirt, pavement or a table top.

Each surface will absorb or reflect different amounts of scent particles and other microscopic particles, such as bacteria, dust and other contaminates. As the day turns to night and continues to cool more and more surface particles are moistened, expanded and released as the pores everywhere open giving wild animals trails to follow and hunt.

Overnight the earth is refreshed as moisture inhaled during the day is exhaled and condensed again into night dew and fog holding scent particles. This is the best time to work a scenting dog.

Winter temperatures slow the day heat cycle until the moisture in the air reaches the freezing point at which time the scent particles become frozen in place and dogs are able to detect the person’s trail because as the dog breathes on the frozen scent pool and moves through the trail the ice thaws out under the dog releasing scent for the dog to smell.

I use this natural earth cycle to my advantage when working dogs by starting sessions or lost person trails as the day starts to cool off.

If the heat of the day is going to be over 85f degrees it’s best to Wait to work a scenting dog until the afternoon begins to cool, usually between 3 and 4 pm.

I’ll work a Bloodhound all night with lights, taking a rest break every 2 hours for 20 minutes on long trails or difficult incidents.  I stop working the dog on very warm days when the day begins to warm in the morning (10-11am) then wait, rest, sleep until afternoon (3-4pm) when the day starts to cool. We start all over searching again until we finish and make the find.

 If we work all night then we’ll sleep and rest in the heat of the day.

Incredible Sue
There were many days Bloodhound, Sue and I worked in extreme heat of 105f plus, she never lost a scent or trail even on the hottest driest days.  She taught me about wetting the dog’s nose.  She would always find a water source, usually off the trail and out of sight, like a hidden stream or small creek in the brush.

All of a sudden she would turn off the path we would be working and jump into the brush where a creek or spring would be. There she would stick her whole nose and muzzle deep in the water and blow bubbles. She’d pull her head out of the water, shake, splash a little on her belly with her front paws then go back to work on the path we were on.

Bloodhounds love to wet the nose. All of my Bloodhounds would put their whole muzzle into the water up to eyes, nose, lips and all then they blow bubbles. It’s great fun to watch in a lake when the dog goes under water walking on the bottom, ear floating and nose blowing bubbles. They can go quite a long way under water this way.

Sue taught me to always keep your scenting dog’s nose wet on the trail by watering your dog often or wetting your hand then patting the dog's nose with the wet hand. A hot dog will not and should not drink very much water until they cool off or they can colic.

I only give a hot dog a few drinks of water from the palm of my hand until they cool down and are not panting hard. If I have extra water I’ll put handfuls of water under the dog’s front legs and on the stomach to cool them off quicker. Behind the ears and inside the hind legs are other good cooling spots.

I'll be posting soon and about how the wind affects scent on the trail.

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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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