Spent the weekend with some colleagues from the National Guard and Search & Rescue K9 unit to expose and train our K9′s to new and challenging environmental factors. This time we spent day one in an old iron works from 1685 with all the nooks, crannies and DIRT that old industrial architecture brings to the table.
Unstable flooring of different materials.
Light and dark, closed and open areas, small and smaller areas.
Drafts and wind bring sounds and scents several floors above from where the person or object is located.
Indoor search and tracking is challenging for any dog and handler include the 3rd dimension of height over and under the floor together with unpredictable wind and drafts that moves the scents to places no where near the actual person or object you’re looking for. For the handler learning to interpret these “false” indications is key and quite the challenge and something I recommend that any K9/MWD handler really takes the time to learn and when you try it for the first time you will be as confused as your dog 🙂
Just getting where to start the exercise is an challenge in an 3D environment.
Day two was spent in an old Aircraft Jet Engine mechanical shop complete with Jet exhaust tunnels and shafts with all the weird smells and strange steel floors and textures that four paws can experience, this is truly a strange experience for K9′s that are normally deployed in an forrest.
Enthusiasm and a natural curiosity together with a systematic and analytical thinking by the handler solves most problems.
Having the person or object located in an elevated position and being absolutely still gives the K9 the opportunity to try and figure out the 3rd dimension and with enough repetitions you’ll have a K9 that does take height into account.
Having a target in plain sight does not mean it’s obvious for your K9, so be honest with yourself as an handler and do not try to steer your dog.
From inside the Magical Trash Can!
It’s also important to include non obvious targets, having you’s K9 investigate in 3 dimensions also makes the top of a trashcan something worth investigating.
And if the trashcan is magical a hand with a treat will appear, making all future trashcans very interesting 🙂
If you have a dog that looks completely floored when you get home you know they have been working hard mentally 🙂
Good Night! 🙂