I want to get into S&R - there seems to be so many different opinions. What should I do?
I am a civilian trying to learn how to train my dog for search & rescue work. I have already spent quite a bit of money on instructors, videos, & classes. I have an 11 mo. old GSD who learns very quickly. The problem I'm having are so many opinions on how to teach tracking, air scent; AKC, SCHUTZHUND, etc. Who's right??? After reading some of your articles it seems to me you make the most sense. Fortunately, my dog hasn't had enough training with any particular method of search training as I have taken my time trying to find someone that "fits the bill" to teach us. We've been working on obedience for several months while I also researched S&R. My dog has an incredible prey & play drive & will do anything I ask of him. Right now his reward is with a toy, not food. I've treaded cautiously with him as he & I are both "green" and I want to mold him, so to speak, the best way I can without having to go back & retrain a different method. Do you recommend the TTD videos for a civilian search dog? The other question is "what about rubble piles where the dog isn't at a dead run?" Can you recommend what training/tracking method to use? I'm so frustrated. Can you help?
Thanking you in advance for your attention in this matter.
Sincerely, Margie & Echo
You should read the Q&A sections on my web site about S&R and on tracking.
You are correct - there are a lot of people in this country that are clueless on this subject. Most S&R groups fall into that category. They screw up and teach air scenting before tracking or worse they don't train tracking at all - hence they only find a small percentage of what they could find if they had done it properly (train tracking first and then air scenting). I have written about the reasons on my web site.
Here are the tapes to get:
Training a Police (S&R) Tracking Dog - Level One - This video was filmed in Canada with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). In my opinion they are some of the best tracking dog instructors in the world. S&R trainers in Canada cannot be called out until they have passed a level one certification by the RCMP. This training tape shows how dogs are trained to this level.
Track Laying for a Police Tracking Dog - How to lay a good training track is critical in training tracking dogs. This tape goes into a great deal of detail on track laying. There is an art to laying a good training track. This tape shows how the experts do it. If you are new to S&R or police tracking, or if you are constantly having to retrain track layers, this tape can save you a lot of time and energy.
Training the Police Tracking Dog - levels two and three - This tape deals with Urban and Suburban tracking. It was done with the RCMP in Canada and is now used to help train new their K9 handlers. I would recommend that you go to my web site and read the training articles I have written on Tracking Through Drive (TTD). You can find them in the list of articles at http://leerburg.com/articles.htm.
When you have finished level one tracking 60 to 80 tracks and your dog can do the work then you can start air scenting. That's rubble work.