Search and rescue dog training

dog rescue equipment

The Basics Of Training III . Training your dog to do basic search and rescue functions or trick could turn out to be a life saver some day. Many dog owner wish their dogs could rescue them in case of emergency. It it all up to up taking the time to train it with the correct search and rescue dog training manuals.

Positioning in Training

  • General Comments. Position training is conditioning the dog to take up the correct position at the right place for the exercise concerned. Why? Because a perfect upright sit placed 10 degrees from the front position is going to cost at least 2 points every time it occurs. This training is fundamental to good scores in obedience. Incorrect positioning is usually caused by a dog with a lazy or forgetful tail end. Position training can be achieved using the compulsive or inducive methods of training or both. Search and rescue dog training.
  • Positioning training should be commenced while the dog is a pup, it should also be used during play training. First and foremost, regardless of what method of training is used to establish the position heel and front positions, the dog must have a datum - the datum in this case is the handler's feet. To be an effective datum, the handler's feet should not move during the positioning training.
  • Heel Position.The heel position means: 'In the static position, the dog is positioned about six inches (150mm) from the handler's left side with his collar adjacent to the handler's left knee, with his front and rear right legs parallel to an imaginary line that passes midway between the handler's feet'. However, in practice, this means: 'Roughly parallel to the handler's left foot'.
  • Front Position.The front position means: 'Dog facing the handler with the centre line of the dog's body in line with an imaginary line that passes midway between the handler's two feet with the dog's nose about 6 inches (150mm) from the handler'.
  • Establishing the Correct Heel Position.All of the following training is conducted initially on lead. I use all of the methods described.
  • The Simple Compulsive Method.The compulsive methods used to train the 'Sit', 'Stand' and 'Down' are described in the training for each of these exercises. The compulsive method of training the 'Sit', 'Stand', 'Down' at heel is to physically 'guide' the dog into the correct position with the lead, hands and feet at the same time it is 'guided' into the 'Sit', 'Stand' and 'Down'.
  • Warning:Harsh physical guidance can cause the dog to become hand or foot shy. All physical guidance should be applied steadily, firmly but gently. When using the lead to guide the dog, it should be fitted to a fixed ring or gentle collar.
  • The Simple Inducive Method.With the handler standing with his feet still in his position, the handler calls the dog into the heel position offering food as the inducement. As the dog nears the correct position, the handler commands the dog to 'Sit', 'Stand' or 'Down' and uses the food to encourage the dog to take up the correct Heel position. The handler may need to twist his body to the left or bend over in order to do this but the handler must not move his/her feet. If the dog hasn't improved his position on the last occasion, the dog is giventhe correction command, no food is given and the exercise is tried again. All progress (personal bests) in the training should be praised and rewarded.
  • The Static Method.The static method is basically heeling on the spot or dancing with your dog. The handler places the dog in the Heel Position, gives the 'Heel' command (voice and signal) and turns to the left or right or about turns to the left or right on the spot. The dog is helped into the correct position by use of the lead, food or physically placed there. Once the dog has progressed with the training, the handler can introduce 'Stands' and 'Downs'. Later the lead and other aids can be phased out. Try it with signals only and voice only. It is a very effective method of teaching the dog the importance of the left foot in maintaining the Heel Position.
  • The Call to Heel Method. This method is very effective also. Be inventive - but make it fun and dance with your dog! Basically the dog learns the importance of the handler's left foot in the heel position. The dog is first put in a 'Sit Stay' on lead, the handler leaves the dog and proceeds slightly to the right to the end of the lead and halts. The dog will be at about the seven o'clock position behind the handler (as shown in the diagram). The handler takes one large step backwards on the left foot. The handler gives the dog the 'Heel' command, using the lead to control the dog's progress. As the dog nears the handler, the handler moves the left foot briskly up beside the right foot, at the same time, the handler may give the 'Heel' command again. The lead, food and/or physical 'guidance' are used initially to help position the dog in the correct heel position. As the dog progresses, the handler can turn 90 degrees or 180 degrees to the right as the left foot moves and the second 'Heel' command is given, this practices maintaining the heel position in the turns. The lead and other aids can be phased out. With practice you will soon be dancing with your dog using this method and the static method. The Call to Heel Method is basically an advanced version of the static method.

ยทEstablishing the Correct Front Position. All of the following training is conducted initially on lead. I use all of the methods described.

The Simple Compulsive Method. The compulsive methods used to train the 'Sit' is described in the training for this exercise. The compulsive method of training the 'Sit in front' position is to physically 'guide' the dog into the correct front position at the same time he is 'guided' into the 'Sit'.Using the Punch Down or Come Fore Methods. The Punch Down and Come Fore methods are described fully in Novice Recalls. To teach the Front using these methods, Recall the dog and as the dog comes in use the hand over hand method to gather up the lead until the hands are at the dog's collar under his muzzle. Pull the dog up and to the handler and at the same time command the dog to Sit. Do not jerk the lead. The dog's nose should end up between the handler's knees (the knees can be bent to accommodate the dog's size) and his eyes should be on the handler's face. If the dog is not looking at the handler, tickle him under the chin and call his name. The lead, feet, legs and knees can be used to nudge the dog into a straight sit in Front. Praise the dog for straight sits.Warning: Harsh physical guidance can cause the dog to become hand or foot shy. All physical guidance should be applied steadily, firmly but gently. When using the lead to guide the dog it should be fitted to a fixed ring or gentle collar.Note: The 'Stand' and 'Drop' in front are not used in obedience trials.The Simple Inducive Method. With the handler standing with his feet still in his position, he calls the dog into the front position offering food as the inducement. As the dog nears the correct position, the handler commands the dog to 'Sit' and raises the food up and over the dog's nose and head until the dog sits. The path the food takes is controlled in such a way as to control the dogs sitting position. If the dog hasn't taken up the correct position it is given the correction command and the exercise is tried again.The Recall Method. This method is very effective. It can be adapted for play training, the retrieve, etc. Be inventive! Basically the handler's legs and feet are used to create a barrier around which the dog must move in order to return to the front position. This gets that lazy backside into the correct position. You can use the foot to tap the backside around and the lead to pull the dog into a close front. The dog is first put in a 'sit stay' on lead, the handler leaves the dog and proceeds to the end of the lead and turns part way about so that the dog is at an oblique position to the left or right of the handler (the left situation is shown in the diagram). The handler takes one large step forward on the foot closest to the dog. The handler then recalls the dog using the lead and/or food to control the dog's progress around the outstretched leg. Once the dog is in the correct position the outstretched leg can be returned beside the other. The retrieve version is done by throwing a toy/dumbbell obliquely to the handlers front and sending the dog to retrieve it. While the dog is retrieving, the handler takes a step forward on the leg closest to the dog and the procedure for the recall method is undertaken. As the dog progresses, the oblique angle (recall and retrieve) can be increased to well beyond 90 degrees and the lead can be phased out.Notes:The purpose in all these methods is to get the dog to sit squarely in front. To do this the dog needs to find a datum for the Front. As the dog approaches, the first datum the dog uses will usually be the handler's feet, the next datum should be the centre of the handler's body, perhaps the knees, belt buckle or handler's chin. Because of this, the handler should keep his feet still and should point to the spot on the handler's body that he wants the dog to use as the close head up datum. This can be done by merely pointing or holding the dog's treat to the spot until the dog Sits. The problem of squaring up the dog's tail end still remains. A dog can sit with his nose pressed to the handler's midriff but may still not be sitting squarely, if his tail end is still pointing 45 degrees to the left or right. This is where the handler's feet, legs, knees and lead come into play.Stepping back from a dog that has sat crookedly in Front, helps to correct the dog that is sitting too far out, using the lead and/or collar to pull the dog into the correct position. However, stepping back to correct a dog that has sat crookedly does not usually solve the problem because the datum have moved. It is far better to remain in place, give the correction command 'Ah!' and use the lead and/or collar, feet, knees and legs to reposition the dog in line with the datum while he is in the Sit.
  • Chainingputs a series of simple exercises into one complete exercise or to look at it another way the exercise is broken down into simple parts which are trained separately and then put together to make the entire exercise. Firstly, the dog learns each simple exercise separately and then they are 'linked' together like the links in a 'chain'.
  • My three rules to chaining are:
  • Do not attempt to join one link to another link until these individual links are completely formed (learned by the dog). In other words, a chain (which is more than one link) cannot be made perfect until every link in the chain is learned perfectly as an individual exercise. Trying to join an open link (a partly learned exercise) to another link is very unwise indeed and sure to be counter productive in the end - the chain will surely break when stressed.
  • The second rule about chaining is that the first link in the next piece of the chain must start where the last link in the chain to which it is to be joined, ended. In other words, there must be a common link in the chain where they join - there must be a logical sequence. For example, in Directed Jumping the send away to the box ends with the dog sitting in the box and the next link for the directed part of the jumping must start with the dog sitting in the box.
  • Note: Here is a very important proviso to the second rule. I said the rule about links is that one must start where the other link finished - there must be common link. That doesn't mean that that is where you need to start training for that individual link, it means that is where a fully formed (trained) link starts and finishes. For example, we don't have to start training the Directed Jumping part of the DJ exercise with the dog sitting in the box but that must be the final aim of this link in the chain.
  • Chains come in all sizes - short and long - a chain can consist of just two links or many links - each link and each chain must be a stand alone exercise in itself, ie, they can be conducted with a logical start and
    finish, eg sit from the stand, drop from the stand can be legitimate individual links in a more complex chain, whereas a "finish" is already a chain because it has more than one link to it.
  • The individual links in any chain are very small but as the exercises become more and more complex, the chains get longer - the more complex the exercise, the larger the number of links in the chain. In complex
    exercises, long chains are joined to short and/or long chains to make one long completed, complex chain. Many of the exercises taught for Novice form the basic links/chains of the Open exercises and these exercises form the basic links/chains of the Utility exercises. This means that in any new Utility exercise, many of the links/chains are already known to the dog. For example, the initial part of the Directed Jumping exercise requires a move forward to a stand - this is similar to the Stand for Examination exercise in Novice and Open so this chain in the more complex Directed Jumping chain is already be known to the dog. The next two Directed Jumping links/chains are the send away to the box followed by a Sit. These links/chains must be learned for Utility because the send away link is new to the dog and a sit from a distance is also unknown to the dog (assuming the signals only exercise has not yet been taught to the dog). So teach these links/chains individually and then join them to the main chain. The next link/chain is the Directed Jumping part of the exercise which is new and must be taught as an individual exercise before it is joined to the main chain. The Directed Jumping part of the exercise is followed by the sit in front and finish - these last two chains should be already known to the dog from Novice and Open so they can be easily joined to the main chain.
    EYES
  • The Use of Eyes in Training.Eyes are expressive so the dog can read not only the handlers mood but what he is looking at and what has his attention. The eyes are another tool the handler can use to train the dog and use as part of his non verbal signal arsenal. The eyes are used in various ways in training, ie focus directing, showing intentions and commanding:
  • Focusing/Hard Eyes.By focussing carefully on an object or place, such as a thrown dumbbell or the point where you want the dog to land after jumping the broad jump, the handler is giving the dog a non verbal signal as to where to find the dumbbell, etc. By focussing on the high jump, bar jump, glove the handler can point the dog to the right jump in Directed Jumping or right glove in Directed Retrieve. Focussing means using "hard" eyes.
  • Showing Intentions.By looking in the direction the handler plans on going, the handler can give the dog a non verbal cue on the change of direction in a turn.
  • Commanding.By focussing a dropped article the handler can indicate to the dog to pick it up.
  • Peripheral/Soft Eyes.The peripheral vision is used to keep an eye on the dog but not to distract or intimidate him when he is working. Use the soft eyes during the recall, scent discrimination, seek back, stays, etc

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