AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Learning the GOTO for the REFIND

Phoenix has been learning the "GOTO" so she can do the "REFIND". Along with this she has also been learning the "TELL ME LOUD" so she will bark when she alerts on cadaver. And it is (pardon the pun) clicking right along. She will go to someone else, sit in front of them, bark, get a treat, then go (still on command) back to me, sit in front, and bark for a treat.....all in preparation for her (eventually) doing the REFIND.

For those of you unschooled in the REFIND, what it is ....the search dog, upon finding the subject, will return to the handler, give an indication that he/she has made the find, and take the handler back to the subject. All of this must be done, at a certification, without any "commands" from the handler. The "TELL ME LOUD" is what I am saying to Phoenix to get her to bark....I want her to bark for me , in the boat, when she smells the cadaver scent...this is in particular for an alert from a boat on a drowned victim.Actually I don't really care if she barks or not on a living find,I just want her to take me in for a refind....but I absolutely am going to insist on a bark alert on cadaver.

AS you probably guessed from the first paragraph, I am training this with the aid of a clicker. A clicker, in her mind, tells her that she is doing something right. For example, the other day, when she did her FIRST EXCERCISE on hidden cadaver, out in the grass, I could see that she was casting around for the scent. I could clearly see when she "hit" on the scent. Since this was her first experience at finding cadaver in the grass, (rather than her previous training, where she was to touch it with her nose as I held a salt shaker with cadaver in my hand) ...I immediately CLICKED when I saw that she was beginning an indication on the cadaver hidden in the grass. This immediately reinforced her, much quicker than my voice would have done, and she honed right in on the cadaver and touched her nose to it. Immediately, another "CLICK" and she got her reward, ...I then encouraged her to touch it AGAIN, and this time immediately asked for a "tell me loud" and she obliged, getting another click and reward.....soon , by the time she "hit" on the third hidden cadaver, she was sitting,and barking immediately on finding the cadaver...she got her treat AFTER she touched it with her nose.

She is a quick study. She learns fast. ALL in all, she is a joy to train. She is so full of energy and curiosity and such a goobery hairy bundle of love....I relly get a kick out of my Phoenix!