Welcome to a train Log of
the making of a SAR dog. Bo is now almost 6 months old. This page will be an
update in his training milestones.
Bo was a very planned puppy. His Mother is Wooly's Lady Rozza CD. She is the daughter of Toni's Wooly Bear CD, TT, CGC, ASCA/CD, SAR/A. Rozza's biggest claim to fame is a 197 score in her First CD trial. She can Track and is a full sister to Wooly's Foxy Image CD AX TT CGC SAR/A.
His Dad is DHS Dunwitch Magic O'Kanbric NA SAR/B ...famous for the Toto stories and a working SAR dog in Cadaver recovery.
It was to be a "working" litter. One to continue my work in search and rescue with Schipperkes. Always looking for a "better" dog, I decided to breed my own. He is very large for a Schip at 13 1/2 inches at 6 months. Weight is about 14 pounds. He has beautiful balance, is extremely agile...and loves to work. He has the perfect temperament for SAR with loving strangers, drive to please, and food motivation. Now about those ears...(all the better to hear you my dear!)
Bo started training at 5 weeks with come, follow and sit. By 8 weeks he had begun to follow me into the woods and fields around the house. Nothing phased him. He took each different situation in stride. I was hopeful about this pup. I have big plans for him. I have tried several who have NOT made it, and know the odds of him really becoming an outstanding search dog is about 1 in 35.
By the 12 week mark of this picture, Bo had learned to "track and work a scent box." Now we train our dogs to work scent with food. I make a 6' x 6' area on the grass, marking it with flags at first. I walk my scent all over that box. Now I take the dog into the middle and begin to drop food. He has to "find" it to eat. He soon learns the food is ONLY in the area where I have walked...and soon turns back into the box to find the scent that contains my food offerings.
As soon as he learns this valuable lesson, I start to lay a "track" out about 15 to 20 feet. I scuff my feet very hard into the grass to leave lots of evidence of my passing. I also drop food every foot or two. Soon he is looking for that trail...and at the end is a BIG pile of food. Once he understands to go find a track...I make them longer. Then curved. And if he gets that fast, I add a straight track with a curve at the end. Now the dog is really working. I add something new. I go back to the start and have a friend or my daughter do the box. Once he understands the OH>>SHE LEAVES FOOD TOO. I have her do a track with a big pile of food. Same as I had done...and once he is tracking HER...NOW I begin the real work. She lays the track and HIDES.
Each time I work now, Bo will "find" a victim. The person who leaves the "scent" is the only one who will feed him. And play and praise. Each time, the victim will be the MOST important thing in the world. This is building the drive to find. It is making the dog understand scent. It is building Victim commitment.
Ok, at the same time, I am playing runaway from the puppy. I go away and CALL...Bo...BOBO come!! I run behind the bush/tree/building. He comes running looking for me. He will now learn to use his nose to AIR SCENT. He will learn to make a pattern to check all the air currents and the ground...the two ways a dog uses to "find" his victim.
Bo is now almost ready to start real work. All of these were puppy games to let him build a "find" picture. It Is Fun To Search. Now I will have to decide which I want him to "special" in for our unit. I have chosen LIVE find dog. Disaster is the dream. IF he has the problem solving and courage to search in adverse conditions like Fox. Only time will tell.
At the Sniffnik, Bo performed in front of 20 people and 38 dogs. He never cared how many were watching...or barking! He just worked that tract and found all the food at the end!! The picture will show you how he uses his nose on the ground!
This week we started new training in Woodland search. His runaways are now in the fields and forests around our 4 acres. He was so good. The first was a hide in the big oak tree. A short run of 150 yards. He went into his search patterns. Looping back and forth in large circles, he covered the land into the wind. As he crossed her scent, he turned into the wind and followed it to her...FIND!! and Toni became "Party Time with Bo." As she finished, I called and he was flying back for another treat. We returned to her and all partied together.
The next run was about 1/2 acre away and into the dense tree line. This time he stopped and just looked at the trees. Soon he raced back and looked at me...MOM?? I told him to "find...GO FIND" and once more he rushed off to stop looking at her...I followed. I could see the problem. She had found a ditch and was deep below him. A new thing for him. Always the victim was UP...and she was DOWN. I had her speak...ZOOM...he was in and climbing all over her...Party time. I was still a good ways out...waiting. He was back in a flash. The start of a refind. No call this time.
Hide Three. It is wise to do three. The magic number in training for some odd reason. This one was into the HIGH weeds. All dry and full of briars. Again, he had to solve a problem. How do I get there mom? Remember. A good Search dog has to solve problems himself. It didn't take him long to find the way around and to her...PARTY TIME. This time I was way back and soon he came running and we both ran back to her to ALL play party time. The whole lesson is to find...play and come and tell me...a search dog without victim commitment or a refind is not a good search dog. It is built at this point.
So at 6 months he is doing very well. Will he make it?? Only the man upstairs knows for sure...and as the weeks unfold, you will be privileged to come along and see what it takes to train a SAR dog. This is phase one. He will also need Obedience, and agility. Both are well started.
Pat and the Sarschips 12/22/99
Bo and Pat
Oh look, I know how to stay!
Read Bo's latest story on the next page:
The music you are listening to is "What a Wonderful World."