Scent & SAR Classes


Search Dog Training Courses

Sussex County Dog Training
&
ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex (LSD-SX)

 JOINING INSTRUCTIONS and INDUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the search dog training courses. There are 2 courses beginners and intermediate, both are 6 weeks long and run on a Tuesday evening. Both courses are aimed at providing a good basic training for potential new search and rescue dog handlers, because search training is based on using and developing your dogs ‘play drive’ they are also ideal courses for anyone who just wants to do something different and have fun with their dog.  The course is fairly intensive and to get the most out of the course will need to do some training with your dog between sessions. Beginners and intermediate courses are taught alongside each other but are seen as 2 separate courses, both are assessed and you must successfully pass the beginners assessment before doing the intermediate course. The courses are taught by instructors from Sussex County Dog Training and experienced operational dog handlers from LSD Sussex. Numbers are restricted on the course as we aim to work on a 1:4/5 ratio of instructors to handlers to ensure a good level of support and advise is provided throughout.

Please be aware successful completion of the courses does not guarantee membership to LSD-Sussex. Acceptance into the team is by invitation only, subject to the availability of dog handler positions and is at the discretion of the executive committee of LSD Sussex. All operational search dogs working in England have to pass a number of nationally recognised assessments and be a member of a recognised search team. This course in no way qualifies you or your dog to participate in live search and rescue operations.


PREREQUISITIES FOR THE COURSES

The course is suitable for dogs of all ages, breeds and capabilities.
To attend the course
·       you and your dog will need to be in good health as it is a fairly active course
·       your dog MUST be friendly with all other dogs and people
·       your dog MUST have a good recall in rural/woodland environment and be safe with wildlife.

Unfortunately, not all dogs that commence the training will be suitable to continue on to the advanced stages of training.  This may be due to any number of reasons, including the dog’s temperament, its ability to take on board new skills, its health and its age (only dogs under 5 will be consider for entry to the team).  Potential handlers must also realise that it takes a lot of stamina, dedication, time and expense to train a search dog and maintain its qualification.  It is a long process but very rewarding one.

                 
DATES AND LOCATIONS

Courses start dates for 2013 are April 2nd and June 4th course fees will be £65 per course.

Both courses will run for 6 consecutive weeks on Tuesday evenings starting at 19.00.

·       The first week will be run at                The Dog Barn
Park Farm
Hook Lane
Aldingbourne
PO20 3TL
       
·      The following 5 weeks will be run at a training location used by LSD Sussex within the Chichester area.
All the training will take place outside whatever the weather conditions.
Please be aware that all the instructors are operational members of the search team on call 24 hours a day. While every effort is made to ensure that this does not affect the course if an incident does occur the number of instructors present may be reduced.

PAYMENT & BOOKING ON TO THE COURSE

To book a place on the course please contact Nina at Sussex County Dog Training on 01243 697202
Course fees need to be paid in full to Sussex County Dog Training 10 days prior to the start of the course.

All profits from the course will go to LSD-SX to support their operational work. 


EQUIPMENT

Equipment you will need

·       Good outdoor cloths and shoes
·       Very high value toy or treats for your dog
·       Optional - A search coat for your dog (search dog coats will be available to purchase if you wish)

 Search training is based on play and rewarding the dog is the most important part of the process. Please bring with you a toy or treats that will really motivate your dog. If you are unsure if your dog is food or toy orientated please bring both to the first session.  Please remember that toys will be used outside in wet and muddy conditions so soft toys are not suitable. Squeaky balls, Kong Wubba, or tug toys are generally the best but most importantly your dog must love it. If you are using a food reward it must be of a very high value to your dog for example liver cake, chicken, sausages.
Please also bring with you a torch / head torch as it may be getting dark as the evenings progress. 
The team will provide radio equipment if required but it’s still worth bringing along your mobile phone just in case of technical difficulties or emergencies.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Please advise a member of the team at the beginning of week 1 if you have any medical conditions that may adversely affect you whilst training at sessions both at the dog Barn and in the woods.
Good stout foot wear and suitable clothing outdoor clothing is essential as we will be working in rough terrain and possible inclement weather.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure dogs and candidates are safe during the sessions it should be noted that we will often need to cross car parks and work near to roads.  Please ensure your dog is kept under control and on a lead when near to traffic.
Due to the nature of the work involved, we cannot tolerate any aggression from your dog towards humans. 
Please do not smoke during exercises.  

FURTHER INFORMATION

Further information about LSD-SX is available at www.lsdogs-sussex.org.uk free to explore the site.
Training questions can be posted on either ‘Lowland Search Dogs Sussex’ or ‘Sussex pet sitters’ Facebook pages.

CONTACT DETAILS
Issues relating to the course:                                                        Anything relating search or joining:
Sussex County Dog Training                                                   LSD Sussex (Sharon)
Nina@sussexcountydogtraining.co.uk                                        K9smurph@o2.co.uk
01243 697202

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or concerns.


COURSE OBJECTIVES

Beginners Course

This course aims to teach your dog the ‘basic run out’. This means by the end of the course you dog should be able to search a short distance for someone hidden 10 up to 10 metres off the path. They should locate the person and remain with them until you arrive and reward them.

PREREQUISITE:

·       you and your dog will need to be in good health
·       your dog MUST be friendly with all other dogs and people
·       your dog MUST have a good recall in rural/woodland environment and be safe with wildlife.


OBJECTIVES:

1.     Understand the basic principles of ‘air scent’.
2.     Encourage a suitable play drive within your dog and reward them appropriately.
3.     Undertake a basic run out seen and unseen
4.     Introduce the dog to the ‘Find command’
5.     Introduce the dog to the search coat as a queue to work.
6.     Understand the requirements of a ‘route and path’ search.
7.     Understanding the importance of providing your dog with good positive experiences.

ASSESSMENT:

The candidate will be able to
·      successfully demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of using air scent to find missing people
·      promote a play drive in their dog using rewards appropriately
·      understand the requirements of a ‘route and path’ search.

The successful dog will be
·      confident around strangers,
·      show a drive to do search work
·      able to locate a hidden person at least 10m off of a track using air scent.

The successful dog and candidate will also be able to show basic obedience skills required for future search work including recall and going willingly with another member of the team. (see obedience tests).

Assessment will be achieved by on-going observations and verbal questioning throughout the course and practical assessment on the final session.

Intermediate Course

The course will build on what was learnt in the beginner’s course.  The aim is that by the end of the course you dog will be able to undertake full unseen searches over distance of up to 300m. On locating the misper they will return to handler and provide an alert to indicate they have found someone.

PREREQUISITE:

·      Search Dogs Training – Beginners (Pass). 
·      Good retention of skills learnt from Beginners

OBJECTIVES:

1.     Develop a working knowledge of ‘air scenting’.
2.     To move to completely unseen searches with multiple hidden people.
3.     The dog will return immediately to handler on locating the a person
4.     Develop a strong, clear and recognisable alert.
5.     Dog will begin to understand and respond to directional controls from the handler.
6.     Understand the importance of objective based training and misper placement to develop the dog’s ability.

ASSESSMENT:

The candidate will be able to
·      demonstrate a working knowledge of air scenting
·      show an understanding of objective based training
·      continues to develop the dogs play drive and enthusiasm
·      Begins to understand the importance of timing with regards to commands and rewards.

The successful dog will be
·      confident and show drive and enthusiasm. 
·      return immediately to handler on finding a person
·      will give a reliable alert (can be prompted or unprompted)
·      locate multiple missing persons, following unseen placement, situated up to 15ms off of a track 300ms long.

The successful dog and candidate will also be able to demonstrate the ALSAR search dogs obedience tests.

Assessment will be achieved by on-going observations and verbal questioning throughout the course and practical assessment on the final session.

Obedience Tests

These will not be taught as part of the course.

These are the obedience tests set by ALSAR the national body which assesses and qualifies the operational dogs.  During the course we will be working on your dog achieving these.  Any dog joining LSD-SX must pass an obedience test before being accepted to the team.

All operational dogs are also stock tested and fully stock safe.

Stay in position with handler 5 metres away – The dog will be off lead, the handler can place the dog in any position they choose (sit,down,stand). During the test the handler will move at least 5 metres away from the dog.

Stop on Command – with the dog off lead and at a distance of not less than 10 paces away the handler will be instructed to stop the dog on the spot in any position. The dog must respond straight away.

OR

Recall – with dog off lead and not less than 10m away ,upon instruction the dog will be called back to the handler and they  should both then  continue together for approximately 10 paces. The dog must respond to the recall command straight away. It is acceptable for the dog to be moving loosely at the handler’s side but under control.

Dog to walk under control on or off lead – Occasional tight lead is acceptable. Natural distractions should generally be ignored.

Go willing with another member of the team – The dog should be happy to walk away from the handler with another team member. 
The handler should be stood with the dog 10 paces away from their car. The dog should wait fairly calmly whilst another member of the team approaches greats the dog and takes it from the handler and then walks it on lead in a reasonably controlled fashion and places the dog in its car.


                           
BEGINNERS  ASSESSMENT
The dog will be assessed throughout the six week course. The dog and handler will also receive ‘Practical Assessment’.  During which The handler will receive verbal questioning to check their knowledge on certain areas within this criterion.  There dog and handler will then we assessed together: A body will play with the dogs reward toy in front of the dog then run from the dog.  The body will hide 15-30m along the track, into the wind at a distance of approximately 10m from the track.  The dog will be tested on both seen and partially unseen run outs.  To be successful each of the 3 parts must be passed.
Skills
Poor
okay   
Good
V good
Excellent
Comment
Observations over course






Obedience






General play drive / enthusiasm






Calm / Non aggressive temperament






Fitness






                                                                                                                                                                                                           PASS / FAIL
Assessment  - Handler






Ability to judge direction of wind







Understand principals of air-scent







Understands the requirements of a route and path search (level 2)






Handler holds and excites the dog in an appropriate manner prior to release






The handler uses an appropriate ‘find’ command






The handler correctly judges speed and distance to allow the dog to find






The handler is able to read when the dog ‘strikes’ the air scent






The handler goes into the body and dog in a timely manner






The handler ensures the dog has appropriate reward and praise.






                                                                                                                                                                                                           PASS / FAIL
Assessment - Dog






Goes willingly with another member of the team






The dog is alert and eager to play when the body runs away






When released, the dog is eager to find the hidden body

Seen





Unseen




Dog confidently leaves handler, with no additional encouragement

Seen





Unseen




The dog air-scents to find the hidden body

Seen





Unseen




The dog confidently goes all the way into the hidden body

Seen





Unseen




The dog is eager to play with reward toy







                                                                                                                                                                                                           PASS / FAIL
Comments



Over all   PASS / FAIL
Assessor
Assessor

                           
INTERMEDIATE  ASSESSMENT
The dog will be assessed throughout the six week course. The dog and handler will also receive ‘Practical Assessment’.  During which The handler will receive verbal questioning to check their knowledge on certain areas within this criterion.  To be successful each of the 3 parts must be passed. The practical assessment is by way of a short search over approximately 300m which must be completed within 15 minutes.  Up to two bodies will be pre-hidden up to 10m either side of the track.   The dog must locate all placed mispers and reliably return to handler and alert.
Skills
Poor
okay   
Good
V good
Excellent
Comment
Observations over course






Obedience






General play drive / enthusiasm






Calm / Non aggressive temperament






Fitness






Confidence






Dog is consistent over the course






                                                                                                                                                                                                           PASS / FAIL
Assessment  - Handler






Understands how wind direction will affect the search






Understands how to place body taking count of training needs






Understands the requirements of a route and path search (level 2)






Gives appropriate and timely instructions to the dog






Uses appropriate and timely commands to keep the dog motivated.






Recognises when the dog is working and when they are distracted.






Ensures dog works both sides of the path taking account of wind direction and terrain.






Correctly judges speed and distance allowing the dog to search and locate.






Allows the dog the freedom to search but keeps them within a safe distance.






Is able to read when the dog ‘strikes’ the air scent






Ensures the dog has appropriate reward and praise.






                                                                                                                                                                                                           PASS / FAIL
Assessment - Dog






Is eager to find the hidden body and remains motive over a 300m track.






Beginning to understand and respond to directional controls.






Air-scents to find the hidden body






Confidently goes all the way into the hidden body.






Following a find the dog returns immediately to handler.






Reliably alerts to the handler in a readable manner 





Alert Prompted / Unprompted
Located all bodies and completes route with 15minutes.






                                                                                                                                                                                                           PASS / FAIL
Comments
Over all   PASS / FAIL
Assessor
Assessor


 Initial Seen Run Outs  

Exciting the Dog
The dogs body excites the dog with a squeaky toy or shows the dog the food.  They need to be animated and interesting, encouraging the dog to follow them as they run away.  The handler allows the dog to naturally pull on the lead / harness, bark etc. (NB – initially the dog runs to the handler).

Run-away & “Go find” command.
The dogs body runs away from the dog and ‘hides’ from the dog, sitting/laying down passively. In the initial stages the dogs body will be in plain view so the dog can see them. The handler tells the dog to ‘go find’ and releases the dog. As the dog progresses the dogs body gets gradually more hidden.

The release
The dog is released. Having excited the dog they should want to run to the dogs body. The dog should run confidently to the dogs body without being distracted on the way.

The find
Once the dog has found the dogs body, initially  the handler should be right behind the dog, as if finding the dogs body together.  At later stages, the handler will introduce a short delay in arriving at the site of the dogs body.  

The Reward
As soon as the handler, dog and dogs body are all together the dogs is rewarded with its toy / food.  The play should be at the dogs body. The dogs body and handler will play/feed with the dog the toy/food whilst praising the dog. Remember – this is the most important part and should not be cut short.




Preparing for the Intermediate Course.


Following on from the beginner’s course you will have been set  2 objectives to work on during the break between courses:

  • ·      Fully unseen searches
  • ·      Return to handler following location of the missing person.



Fully unseen search
Aim
To be able to take the dog to an area where a misper has been pre-hidden, and who the dog did not see leave. By giving the find command the dog will searches enthusiastically for the misper. (When your dog is able to do this they fully understand the find command).

Training
1.     Start with a basic run out (no more than 30 metres down the path) where the misper shows the dog the reward and walks calmly and quietly away. Once the misper is hidden turn the dog round and use the find command and send the dog to locate the misper. Once the dog is enthusiastically finding the person move on to step 2.

2.     Perform the basic runout as in 1. but when you turn the dog around pause quietly for 30 seconds, then excite your dog and give the find command and send them to find the misper. The dog should be motivated and enthusiastic to search. If they are not return to stage 1 for further practice.

3.     As stage 2 but gradually increase the delay before sending up to 2 minutes (keeping the search no longer than 30metres). If at any point the dog looses their motivation to search go back to a stage where the dog is motivated and practise. Once the dog searches enthusiastically with a 2 minute delay move on to stage 4.

4.     Get the misper to hide without your dog seeing or hearing (keep your dog in the car or walk your dog to a place where they cannot see or hear the misper). Once the misper is in position excite the dog and using the find command send them to locate the misper. The dog should confidently leave the handler and be motivated to search for the misper. It is important that you give the misper clear instructions on where to hide so that the search does not become too difficult for your dog. To begin with it is important that the dog quickly has a find. So initially keep searches short and REWARD.


 


Return to handler
Aim
The next part of the pattern is to get the dog to return to handler once they have found the missing person. Only teach this once you dog is confidently going right into the misper and playing with them or taking food from them until you arrive.
It is vital when teaching this that the dog does not stop doing right into the missing person. It important that the dog locates the exact position of the missing person the only way you can be sure then have done this is by ensuring they go right up to the misper each time they find.


Training
1.     For this stage the handler will keep the main reward rather than giving it to the misper so that they can encourage the dog to come back to them. However you want to ensure that the dog does still goes into the misper, so the misper needs something that will encourage the dog to go to them before running back to the handler. The reward the misper has must be high enough to get the dog to come in but not so much that the dog will not leave to go back to the handler. You may need to play around with different rewards at the beginning to get this right. As a general rule if your dog is toy orientated give the misper a small amount of a high quality food reward and if your dog is food orientated give the misper just a small amount of food so that it is gone quickly.

2.     Set up a short run away seen or unseen depending on which stage your dog is at. Give the misper the treat they are going to use to ensure the dog continues to go right into them. The handler should keep the main somewhere where the dog cannot see it or get to it eg. in a pocket.

3.     Start only with short distances so the handler is not too far away from the dog when they find. Set the search up so the handler can see when the dog has been right into  the misper or agree with the misper a signal that they can give when the dog has been right in (commonly used is the word bingo).

4.     Once the dog has been into the misper and taken the food the handler calls the dog in an exciting way showing them the toy or holding out their hand full of treat for the dog. When the dog returns to the handler, the handler rewards and praises the dog.

5.     The dog should quite quickly learn to go into the misper take the food and return to the handler for a bigger reward. If the dog is very excited about getting back to the handler for their reward they may not take the food this is Ok providing they briefly make contact with the msiper before returning to the handler.

If  the dog is not motivated by food at all then the misper could have a toy which they sit passively with and until the dog gets to them. Do not let the dog have this toy and when they dog arrives at the misper quickly hide the toy  eg in pocket or behind the misper while the handler calls the dog showing them the toy they have.

Any problems or queries with training please contact us via face book or by emailing us directly.


BOOK YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN.
You do not need to buy or read these books to be successful on the course.

Bulanda s. (2010) Ready ! Training The Search and Rescue Dog 2nd Edition. Kennel club books.
Rescue Dog Association (2002) Search and Rescue Dogs. Training the K9 Hero 2nd edition. Howell.
Snovak A. (2004) Guide to Search and Rescue Dogs. Barrons.
Syrotuch G. (2000) Scent and the Scenting Dog.  Barkleigh Productions.

All these titles are available on Amazon.

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