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Canine Search and Rescue. Finding a K9 that works for a living saving lives!. Before Starting. Before you can evaluate you need to understand Dog may have evolved from wolves but they are not wolves They can not survive without humans
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Canine Search and Rescue Finding a K9 that works for a living saving lives!
Before Starting Before you can evaluate you need to understand • Dog may have evolved from wolves but they are not wolves • They can not survive without humans • We have bred the skills and instincts out of them so that they will be able to perform a specific task or serve a function such as being a companion
Before Starting A labrador can not kill the duck but it’s function is to bring it back to the human A border collie herds the sheep but has been bred not to kill the sheep The chihuahua is a companion but would be considered prey in the wilderness
Before Starting What we are going to be looking for is a dog with strong primitive instincts (drive) that bring us back to the days when the dog was closer to the wolf. The primitive instincts are what would have allowed it to survive in the wild.
Before Starting When it is all boiled down to the very essence what are we asking the dog to do when we are asking it to do Search and Rescue?
Before Starting We are asking the dog to hunt for the prey i.e. We are asking the dog to find the subject We are asking the dog to let the rest of the pack know (we constitute the rest of the dogs pack) i.e. perform a final response We are asking the dog to kill the prey i.e. receive the reward system (this varies for different dogs, but play tug would be an example)
Before Starting So if the dog doesn’t have strong instincts/drive then it will not be able to survive on it’s own i.e. the will not be able to find the subject reliably when we need it to
Team Training Officers If you do not have a evaluation process in place for your prospective handlers and their K9 partners GET ONE! Get it in writing and stick to it!
Team Training Officers It is better for the team as a whole to deal with the situation of an unsuitable k9 before they even start training. It never easy but it has to be done! A problem that is ignored doesn’t go away!
The Process • We used FEMA CSST program for a baseline for this presentation – They had some good slide! • But there are other evaluating methods with other specific tests and criteria that are just as good!
Good screening eliminates themediocre dog • Always re-fixing the same problems • Trainers are working harder than the dog • Does not want to do the job
We have NO RIGHT to train a dog unsuitable for a job that can result in a person’s life and death!
Screening does not guarantee success! It selects canine candidates most likely to succeed in the least amount of time with a regimented training program and dedicated handler
Drive • K9’s inherited behaviors - relating back to survival skills • Hunt – Find the prey • Prey/Retrieve – Catch the prey • Tug/Fight – kill the prey • Toy/Possession – having the prey so it can be consumed
Drive • What stimulates this drives? • Hunt – the nose, smelling the prey • Prey/Retrieve – the eyes, seeing it run • Tug/Fight – biting and pulling, catching and kill the prey • Toy/Possession – the mouth, chewing and pulling it apart, eating the prey
What drive do we want in our search dog? Hunt – definitely, the nose is what we have the dog for, they can smell better then we can Prey/Retrieve – great for using a reward system! But our subject are seldom running away from us!
What drive do we want in our search dog? Tug/Fight – great for using a reward system! But we don’t want the dogs biting the subjects! Toy/Possession – great for using a reward system! But we don’t want the dogs chewing or ripping apart our subjects
What drive do we want in our search dog? A combination of drives works best! A strong hunt drive is best when combined with another drive that can be used as part of reward system!
What drive do we want in our search dog? The dog has to want to and have the skills to find the subject! The dog has to want the reward enough to keep on working for it!
Why we need to evaluate the potential of the dog Select a canine candidate • Which will train to the operational level in least amount of time • With highest likelihood of success Don’t waste our time & money on a dog that will never be reliable!
Rationale for Selection Process • Improves Certification Evaluation success rate • Reduces training time • Gives objective basis for selecting or rejecting a canine candidate • Aids in maintaining a viable canine element at all times
Puppy—Pros More options on breed, sex of dog if choosing from a litter Control of early training – dog starts training already trained in the basics!
Puppy—Pros Early exposure to unusual environments – this is an issue with older dogs sometimes Socialization – you control it so the dog will only have positive experiences
Puppy—Pros • Drive and reward building – but this is strongly a product of genetics so even a dog can develop these quickly
Puppy—Cons • Low prediction of success based on puppy tests – The drive just might not be there! • Intensive training delayed until puppy is 6 to 12 months old – you now have year of time, money and emotion invested in a puppy that isn’t up the job!
Puppy—Cons Will take longer to train – you already have a year invested and you haven’t even started! Physical and temperamental problems may develop as puppy matures – Some problems are genetic and no matter what you do you are going to have these problems!
Other then just evaluating at the Puppy • Look at success and quality of both parents • Look at the success and quality of previous same parent litters
Young Adult—Pros • What you see, is what you get • High prediction of success • Reduced training time • Can screen for physical problems
Young Adult—Cons Limited selection of qualified dogs and those available are expensive!
Young Adult—Cons But when you add it up the overall cost of raising a puppy for a year, the time you spend in training, medical expenses, etc. it really is a not more expensive but the initial cost up front can be prohibitive.
Young Adult—Cons • Dog should be at least 12 months old and less then 3 years old • Unknown early socialization and exposure • May not have access to dog’s genetic history (pedigree) if wanting to breed dog
Standardized screening will select best candidate of any breed or mixed breed dog
Screening Process • Dog is at least 12 months old • In good physical condition • Performed in an unfamiliar area
Selection Process Components • Drive • Nerve strength • Sociability • Physical screening
Drive • Innate impulse that prompts a canine into action • The more instinctive, the more reliable • Desire for the reward
Measuring Drive • Play drive and toy possession • Prey drive • Hunt drive
Play Drive and Toy Possession Test • Play with any reward and with any person • Initially plays with handler and familiar toy • Plays with handler with unfamiliar toys • Plays with unfamiliar person with favorite and unknown toys • One minute observation of dog with toy
Select canine that • Plays vigorously with toys • Maintains focus on toys • Presents toy to play or self-plays with toy
Prey Drive Test • Assesses desire to pursue and capture prey • Repeated ‘retrieve’, toy is thrown 10 times • Dog is released after toy stops moving • Dog must hold toy until return to handler • May be lured back to handler
Select canine that • Runs to toy • Carries toy or returns with toy to handler • Stays focused on toy, not distracted by environment • Maintains or increases enthusiasm with each throw
Hunt Drive Test • Assesses dog’s willingness to search for non-visible toy • Performed in the type of environment where you want the dog to search
Hunt Drive Test • Handler holds dog while helper throws toy • Process is repeated and dog is released after varying delay times, from no delay to 1 minute • Start point is relocated at least one time
Select canine that • Runs up on and navigates rubble with little or no hesitation • Hunts out of sight of handler for at least 1 minute on at least one hunt test • Will run directly on rubble from any start point • Maintains focus on search • Holds toy until returns to handler
Nerve Strength Emotional stability in uncomfortable and unfamiliar environment
Surface and Sound Sensitivity • Unstable • Rough • Slick • Lights/sirens • Loud noises
Confined Space • Dark • Lighted
Nerve Strength Test • Helper works dog with handler nearby • Each test is performed twice to measure recovery and reaction