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A "dog blog" about all breeds and issues of importance to people who value the dogs in their lives, with a special emphasis on Search and Rescue dogs, in particular the training of my Newfoundland Dogs

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More Search Dog Stuff..Cadaver and Alerting

It's been awhile since I lived up to my promise to write daily about Phoenix and her training. We have been progressing and I have been remiss in detailing the accounts of some of her successes and failures along the way. So I will start with a SUCCESS story.

To begin with, it has become apparent that she MUST do a strong alert in the boat. Preparatory to this effort, I have been working with her to get her to "talk to me", and I use the words "tell me LOUD" to get her to bark. This is easy to accomplish because she lovers for me to throw her stuffy for her, especially at that time of day just before we all go to bed, when I am sitting back and watching tv, she will go get her stuffy and push it into my lap, then wait for me to throw it. If I hold her stuffy up and "start" to throw it, she gets excited and she will "woof" impatiently. thus began the training for the bark alert. This is how the training began. Now she will "tell me loud" before she eats, before she goes outside, actually most any time I aske her. and once she "tells me" then she gets whatever it is that she is wanting.

From that point, we progressed to the search for cadaver and getting a treat when she finds. Before she gets her treat, she must "tell me loud". Consequently, she is BEGINNING to make an automatic alert, a sit, face me, and "woof" when she finds the cadaver!! We are getting there!!

Now for a "failure". Her desire to come to me in the field is not as great as her desire to continue investigating whatever it is that sh is interested in at the time. And she has a pretty short attention span. Especially when it comes to water, and swimming in it. The only good thing there is to say is that at least, after she is done with her swim, she will at least continue searching. So I need to do two things...pump up her focus on the search to the point that she will not bother with a swim along the way, and make sure that if she DOES get distracted, she will go back to the searching in the end.

We have just begun her THIRD obedience class. One of the big things we are going to be working on this week, well, actually two things: looking at me when I say her name, and coming to me when I encourage her to come, but WITHOUT using the actual word "come". So I am off, to the training.

Keep your nose in the wind, and your tail wagging....