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Leerburg's Q&A database has 3319 entries from multiple categories.

 

Categories: Police or S&R Tracking

Q. Ed where do you get off telling people to train tracking before air scenting?
Ed!

In looking - mainly by fluke - in the 'questions/comments' in the sar section - just under Patti Thompson's pic of Deja working Fresh Kills.....a person talks about their 10 month old training in air scent. You replied that "10 months is way, way, way too young......". Uh - since when? I've been training air scent for almost 20 years now and always start them off extremely young - including my dog from Leerburg lines - and all have been exceptional air scenting dogs. I'm talking 4 months give or take.

And as to your other advice regarding the tracking first - holy cow!! Then you slam whoever is "training them"? Ed!!! Where is this coming from?????

Honestly - if I knew this person name and addy I'd be emailing them even though I'm sure it's too late by now - you've probably ruined whatever amount of motivation they've had. Just what is YOUR experience in air scenting sar? You know - I have recommended you for years to novice and experienced handlers alike, as well as those looking for quality pups but I'm seriously going to have to go through all your articles and responses and sadly, perhaps, rethink this. I hope that maybe you rethink some of this air scenting "advice" of yours as well.

Christine

A. Christine,

Maybe I need to rewrite some of the comments to be more specific.

There is nothing wrong with starting air scenting at a very young age if that’s all you want in a dog. That is if you only want an air scent dog.

But if you want a search and rescue dog then the dog should be trained to track first.

You ask where this comes from? It comes from the RCMP in Canada. I dare say they have considerably more experience than you. They started in the business in 1935 and do it full time.

The fact is most dogs that are trained to air scent before they are trained to track they will always have problems tracking.

The fact that your dog can do the air scenting as a young dog does not make it right.

  Response:

Ed,

Just off the top, my response would be as follows:


Maybe I need to rewrite some of the comments to be more specific.

There is nothing wrong with starting air scenting at a very young age if that’s all you want in a dog. That is if you only want an air scent dog. All I want? My dogs, as are the other operational SAR dogs in NYS, are extremely good at what they do - finding people. We, unlike many LE "K9s" do not need scent articles nor do we need an accurate - or any - PLS. There are very few times, at least in our area, where a tracking dog is appropriate and the few times other agencies use them - they have been used inappropriately.

But if you want a search and rescue dog then the dog should be trained to track first. I already HAVE search and rescue dogs - who were trained to track second - that are, again, very good at what they do. :-)

You ask where this comes from? It comes from the RCMP in Canada. I dare say they have considerably more experience than you. They started in the business in 1935 and do it full time. Yes Ed, you can dare say that RCMP has more experience than I.....they also know how to field dogs appropriately - the correct dog for the correct situation.

The fact is most dogs that are trained to air scent before they are trained to track they will always have problems tracking. SAR dogs do NOT have to be tracking dogs!! I have no desire to train a dog that won't be used or used very infrequently.

The fact that your dog can do the air scenting as a young dog does not make it right. It doesn't?!!! My dogs air scent whether they are young, old or in-between. It IS right for what we do --- finding people. Time and again. Year after year. Seems you think it's going to be your way or no way.....too bad Ed because, as I said before, years ago I would recommend you - no longer.

Regards,

Christine Buff

  Follow-Up Response:

Lets begin with the fact that you recommending me has nothing to do with this.

The fact is you and most S&R people in this country don’t and never have understood the correct concepts of training S&R dogs. You completely misunderstand the concept of deployment and training and it JUMPS OFF THE PAGE when I read this.

Your so bitter about this that you have a closed mind. You don’t even know what you don’t know. That’s how pig headed stubborn you are.

I will guarantee you that you have not seen the 3 RCMP DVDs I did in Canada – which are now part of their training school. These people don’t just deploy their dogs properly they train their dogs properly and their dogs find people – they are light years ahead of most American police service dog handlers and S&R people like yourself.

The fact is in Canada S&R like yourself cannot be called out to search unless you certify under a RCMP police dog handler. If your dog cannot do a level One certification it would never be used – and they don’t train air scenting until level two tracking.

Training Tracking Dogs for Police or S&R Dogs -Tracking Through Drive- (Level One - Country Tracking) With the RCMP

Track Laying For Police Tracking Dogs

Training Police Tracking Dogs -Tracking thru Drive- (Level Two & Three - City Tracking)

You completely missed the point on my young dogs air scenting. They can do it but that does not make it right. Just like many young high drive mals can be put on a helper at 4 to 5 months – but that does not make it right. In fact its stupid. Just like training young dogs to air scent before they learn to track is STUPID !!!

Once a dog has learned to air scent they almost never become strong tracking dogs. Is this always the case? No not always but most of the time.

When they lose the track the air scenting dogs learn to run around with their head high and air scent.

Once a tracking dog has done 60 tracks and passed level one (read the specs on my web site) and they have a problem they have learned to put their nose on the ground and search for the track. A dog that does this along with air scenting FINDS MORE PEOPLE than a strictly air scenting dog!!!

What do you do if you can't search into the wind with your air scenting dogs?

And this is not only an RCMP philosophy – some of the best tracking trainers in Europe are in the Netherlands Federal Police – I have been to both of their police dog schools and worked with a number of their instructors. We all agree on these issues.

If you were not so pig headed you would be saying – hey what are these guys doing that we are not doing? Maybe – just maybe they know more that we do about training tracking dogs. Or you can keep you head stuck down a hole which is where it is right now.

Ed
  
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