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PostSubject: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:51

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on September 16, 2006.



Hello Everyone-

Since I'm so much into this Search and Rescue training, I thought I'd create a specific message board to talk about it. Citara and I are now starting to find strangers and I've created a "Wanted" poster. I'm asking for volunteers in the community who might be interested in helping out in our cause. Who knows if anyone will respond, but it's worth it. Apparently this is the hardest part of training, finding strangers to search and find. We've already asked the neighbors, most of whom are eager to help. So, Citara is on her way. She's found two strangers now. She is a tad bit intimidated by strangers still at the moment. We are still working on her socialization training. Stranger play is a big part of our work with her at the moment. She is very quick to learn to use her noise and works fast at her obedience training. So far we are encouraged and are excited for her advancement.

If you are interested, we've found several books to be of help in our Search and Rescue endeavors...
Scent and the Scenting Dog by: Syrotuk
Search and Rescue Dogs: Training the K-9 Hero by: American Reacue Dog Association
Ready! The Training of the Search and Rescue Dog by: Susan Bulanda

Happy searching!
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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:51

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on June 12, 2007.



My husband and I have just returned from a trip up north to a Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC) training with our pup, Citara. It was so fascinating and we learned a great deal from them. Citara did quite well and even finally barked on her own when she found the subject! That was our great accomplishment this weekend. Well, they meet every second weekend to train together, so that will be fun at least during the summer. We've started calling girl scouts, boy scouts, and 4-H in the area to see if anyone would be interested in playing a lost person for Citara to find. We really need to train her at least three times a week now, if even just short sessions. But, she's performing quite well, it's the handlers, us, who need the most training. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:52

Originally posted by shepauteprez on June 04, 2007.



Well, a couple of new developments in Citara's training. Today my husband and I went out on a two mile search mission. He left at a certain point, called the Point Last Seen (PLS), and did not leave any markers, so I had no idea where he had walked. (This wasn't exactly planned, but we made the most of it). Smile Citara trailed him the whole two miles, pausing once to drink and rest up after the hard work, and pausing again to pee. (Necessities). She found him in 1 hour and 30 minutes with multiple small turns, one large left turn and thunder along the way. It was up hill mostly and what an incredible trip it was. I am just amazed at her ability to find someone lost for miles in the woods.

Another think, I'm so excited about...my husband and I are going to Grand Junction this weekend with Citara to train with a "real" SARDOC group! There are about 8 different dogs, not including Citara, and we'll be camping out for two days. This will be the first time Citara will ever work with another group and I hope everyone is nice and we enjoy ourselves. This group will help us become certified which will hopefully happen in a year of so. The hardest part about certification is working on ourselves, not the dog. The dog can do all the work perfectly, but the humans have to know map skills, walkie-talkie ediquette and GPS navigation. I hope I can get that done in a year. I've starting going to the Search and Rescue ground team in Durango and they seem very nice. I really have to get in shape, though. ugh.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:53

Originally posted by Akelasmom on May 12, 2007.



It is great you found SARDOC and can attend their meetings. As we all can attest to, a group interested in the same things as you are can really enhance your experience.
It's good to know all the technical aspects, too, as we don't want to lose you in the woods! (I'm sure with Citara you'd never be truly lost!) But all kidding aside, a SAR has to be able to tell someone else where they are!
Thanks for doing all this hard work as one day it will be a lifesaver.
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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:54

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on May 12, 2007.



OK...new development in Citara's SAR training. There is a group in Grand Junction, CO who are training their dogs through Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC) and that's close enough to drive once a month to. I've contacted the person in charge of the group and she has invited us to their trainings.

I also attended my first Search and Rescue (SAR) training (that's the training for people) and found out that my husband and I need to know about maps and radios and compasses and First Responder first aid and GPS and the list goes on and on. I also need to get in shape. Working with Citara hasn't been as hard as it's going to be. But, SAR was open to the use of dogs, which they've never had before.

Fun things to think about.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:55

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on April 9, 2007.



So, I called the Armed Forces representative back, got a weird message machine where I could only type in my number and never got another call. Oh, well.

Anyway, my husband and I felt that Citara's abilities were progressing nicely. She could turn without any trouble, she wasn't phased by other tracks and she barks when she find the subject. So, we wanted to start her tracking over longer distances now that she's almost a year old. Well, she was amazing and I'm the one who learned a lot from her this time. She let me know when she didn't smell the subject's scent and alerted nicely when she finally came upon it. She also showed me that she knew when the subject rested at a spot by lingering and smelling the scent deep and strong. She trailed the subject for one mile without faltering or growing bored or tired. I was so excited when the subject was found. Yeah for Citara!

She is capable of scent discrimiation, but wee are going to start a serious training for her to alert only when she smells an article dropped by the subject. We are currently debating whether to have her lie down or bark or something different all together. Currently, she's not barking like she should. I know that Alsatian Shepalute's don't bark readily on their own, so I'm thinking it would be a good idea to leave the bark alert only when the subject is found and have another alert for articles? Hmmm...

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:55

Originally posted by Beth on May 20, 2007.



Search and Rescue is so important. It is wonderful that you are working with Citara for this. Keep us posted as to your experience with the Armed Forces!
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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:57

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on March 18, 2007.



As you all know, I've been independently training Citara for Wilderness Search and Rescue work because there is not group close by to work with. Well, yesterday I received a call from the Armed Forces wanting us to come to a meeting to present Citara and talk a little about our work. Wow. I'm so excited about that. This little gal can really search. She has strong desire and a great nose. She pulls me off my feet many times because she's so eager to follow the track. She has always found the victim, even though I haven't always been the best trainer. I'm so proud of her. She continues to be shy of the person once she finds him/her, but she's never failed to find a stranger.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 17:59

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on January 21, 2007.



OK, I have been worried about Citara's lack of interest with strangers and other dogs. Ok, I'll say it, her shyness. Perhaps we try too hard to get her socialized. Anyway, my husband was talking with a Fire Marshall in town and she mentioned that the search dog just needs to be able to do her job. If she can find the lost person, then the shyness isn't such a big deal. She also said that the rescuers are not there to pet your dog, so it won't be detrimental really. That was so reassuring and brought new life back into training her. I hope that general sentiment is felt with others. But, she's also still a pup and very precious. I don't want to excuse her shyness away and not deal with it, either, so I'll continue to seek opportunities to get her over this hump.

She is tracking VERY well, though, and loves to work. Her obedience is coming along as well and she now comes at a full run whenever we use the command, which isn't very often because I don't want to wear that one out. That one is so important. Jay and I use treats to help with this one and it really has worked. I don't care what some trainers say about not using treats, they work. I do have to say that she loves to get rewarded with play after a workout session, so both of them in combination have seemed to be the ticket.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:00

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on December 9, 2006.



Here's the latest development in Citara's Search and Rescue training. I found a way to get her to bark for than one time when she finds the subject. Citara knows to alert us that she's found the lost victim by barking, but she'd only bark once and expect a reward or lose interest in the subject. So, I was playing with her on the couch with her toy the other day and before I gave her the toy I required her to bark three times. I got her very excited and lo and behold, she barked three times and I immediately gave her the toy and started tugging with her. We tried it again and again and each time she barked three times consecutively! Now, we bring her toy with us and the lost victim excites Citara with the toy until she barks three times, then gives the toy and plays. This has worked beautifully. We want to work up to barking continuously until the handler gets to her and praises her. In thinking about it just now, getting her to bark continuously is kind of like Schutzhund. You know the part when the dog barks at the stranger while the stranger is standing still, but the minute the stranger moves the dog bites. I wonder how those trainers in schutzhund train the dog to bark continuously. You know, I bet I have to do a lot more work with Citara because of her innate personality to be calm and quiet.
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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:00

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on November 21, 2006.



I just have to tell you that Citara is barking on her own initiative when she finds a lost subject! She's done this twice now and I'm very excited about this new development. This means that she is coming along very well in her ability to alert us when she's found something. Also, she's wagging her tail when she finds an article dropped by the subject. She's still learning to bark at this, too, but just the fact that she's so interested in the article and knows that it belongs to the subject amazes me. She is so smart and willing to work search and rescue. Also, there is a man who knows several people in the area who would like to work their dogs. That means this thing might really get off the ground in my area. I can't wait. I'll keep you updated. Talk with you all later.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:01

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on November 2, 2006.



Did I tell you that I created a "Volunteer Victims Needed" sign to help gather strangers for Citara to work with? Well, I put the sign up in two spots in our small town and two people have contacted us! I'm so excited. This means that Citara will be able to work with people she doesn't know to help her work with unfamiliar scent and help her be more friendly with strangers. Track layers are so important to a successful search for a young dog's training, so I'll have to be very specific to these people. The good news is that they have trained their own dogs so they at least know a little about training and the husband has lived in the area for 18 years and is an avid hiker/hunter so he knows the woods around here pretty well. Wish us luck.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:02

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on October 23, 2006.



Oh, I tried what you suggested about telling the stranger that her favorite spot was her chest and that worked much better. I can see that Citara gets alittle upset when the person's hand tries to pet her head and goes beyond her sight. When I told people that her favorite spot to be pet was on her chest, three things happened. 1. The person was so happy to know exactly where to pet her. 2. The person had to bend down more on her level to reach her chest. 3. Citara could see their hand at all times and was very happy to let them pet her. I worked beautifully. Thanks for the suggestion.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:03

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on October 18, 2006.



Well, we learned something about training this puppy...we moved too fast too soon recently and had to return to some previous lessons. My husband and I had moved Citara to searching about 1/4 mile, upwind, when we realized that Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC) want the handler to teach the dog trailing before airscent. Well, those airscent and trailing are dealt with quite differently in training and so we found ourselves backtracking on the training. It was good, though, because Cirara started alerting to scent where their shouldn't be any scent. She did this in two sessions and we found out that dogs can train to be unreliable in their alerts. Like a dog that learns to escape from its pen, it will continue to try to escape until the pen is escape-proof. (Even then, it might try). Well, if Citara is going to become certified, we must be able to rely on her ability to correctly alert to the proper scent. Also, we had not been marking our track, so the person handling her didn't know exactly where the subject had been. Even when we start training her to airscent, I think it's going to be important for the handler to know where the subject walked. After we've learned to be better handlers, perhaps those markers can be removed.

When we started marking the track layed by the subject, planning out the timing and the problem to be solved more systematically, and slowing down our pace (instead of trying to keep up with Citara's enthusiasm) she performed much better and found the subject in record time. I did notice, however, that she wanted to sway largly from the track, which suggested a random pattern of behavior. I understand that trailing dogs won't pass on the exact trail the person walked, but she was veering way too far away. The track was not that old for the scent to travel that far off the track. Anyway, perhaps that's too technical, but she did do much better with some handler direction and a more perfected track laying. It's much harder than just following your dog to the subject.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:03

Originally posted by Lois Schwarz on September 18, 2006.



when a person (stranger) comes up to you and asks if he or she can pet your dog this is what you say "my puppy is in training and she really needs you to pet her, but she is kind of afraid of strangers, would you like to help her?" since they came to you they will say "sure" then you say "if you would bend down or sit down on her level so you will not be so scary to her and if you will only look at me and let her smell you, then after she smells you look at her and put your hand out so she can smell it. you see that is how she introduces herself to you and that is how she identifies people. once she is introduced to you she will allow you to pet her favorite spot, her chest! she is not very sure of a strange hand going towards her face, but if you pet her chest she will be your friend for life!"

another favorite and easier way to get her to like strangers is to make sure she is hungry when you do your strangers are ok excersizes. I like to use an excersize pen. it is a circular metal pen about four feet tall and four feet in curcumfrance. it allows the dog her own space and saftey in that no one can fall on her or step on her feet or tail. it gives her security in that she knows that those strangers are on that side and she is in a cage she is familiar with. this cage is collapsible and easy to transport. they cost about 100.00 . then you attach two cups to the cage with duct tape or what ever... and a sign that says "in training please ask me to sit and give me a treat after i sit for you". you will find that this will bring everyone over to feed your dog and it will make them feel as though they are a proffesional trainer as of course, your puppy will sit! hehe..

another way is to attach a body pack to your waist with hot dog treats and pass them out to anyone who wants to give them to her.

well, thats all i can come up with for now.

some will say go to a doggy park. hmmm, i personally dont have insurance if i get bit or mauled or what have you and i do not let other dogs run up to my dog to lick them or nose them. no i do not put my puppies in this type of enviroment. never.

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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:04

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on September 16, 2006.



I went to town today and noticed that there were lots of people gathered for a festival on Main Street. (Not surprising, it happens a lot in this town) So, I figured it would be a great socialization experience for Citara. I led her down amongst the crowds and sat her next to where all the people were coming and going. In no time at all there were several people interested in her. (If you hadn't noticed, these dogs are beautiful) She is for sure not intimidated by walking amongst people, through loud crowds, or even around lots of city noise, but she doesn't like it when a foreign hand reaches down to pet her. She is still shying away from strangers. She is now 4 1/2 months old and she will have to outgrow this behavior before her Search and Rescue training is complete. My strategy was to get her around people and have them pet her, but now I'm rethinking that strategy. I'm now thinking that it would be more beneficial to have her play with strangers, especially children. That's more difficult, though. If anyone has any great ideas for acquiring strangers to play with my dog, please let me know.

I hope you're all well.
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PostSubject: Re: Search and Rescue   25/3/2010, 18:05

Originally posted by shepaluteprez on September 15, 2006.



Oh! I have to tell you about this new technique I learned. I haven't tried it yet, but these dogs are so quick to pick up on cues that this might work really well...

In Disaster Search and Rescue work your dog must stop on a dime when you tell it to because you might notice a piece of fallen debris (or something else) that could potentially harm (or kill) your dog. So, the dog must follow commands to stop, back-up, come, and down all off leash and possible far away or up on something rickety. Anyway, I was interested in teaching Citara to stop off leash and freeze right where she is, but I had no idea how to do this. Well, in AKC obedience trials the dogs must down after being called to come to the handler. So, I was browsing the web for information on this and I came upon a super neat idea. The site is: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] At that site, the trainer has found that using a yard stick in front of the you upon recall visually helps the dog understand that stick means stop. As the dog's training advances, the stick can be placed farther and farther from you until eventually the stick becomes a twig becomes a string becomes nothing. The dog learns that he needs to stop anywhere behind the stick when asked and not to come past the stick. I thought it was a fun idea. I'm really grateful to the person who posted it.

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