Starting our search and rescue adventure

Discussion in 'Labradors in Service' started by lorilou61, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Greetings! It's been a long time since I have been on the forums. I've missed all the stories and pictures. We've had many changes around here. Moving about the country, changes in jobs, lost some family and gained some grandkids.
    Biggest news in Edsel's world is that after numerous delays, due to all the previously mentioned life events, we've finally been evaluated and accepted to train with the Ohio Valley Search and Rescue team here in IN! We began official training in April and are so excited!
    I first contacted them when Edsel was only 6 mos old but it took until just after his 2nd birthday for us to finally get to meet them. Initially they were not overly positive about accepting us due to his age. They normally won't begin training K9 teams unless the pup is under 2 years. Since it takes 2 years to be ready for certification testing they have concerns about the number of working years. But I was persistent in asking them to just take a look at him. I felt certain if they could just see his drive and natural ability, they'd be sold. And I was right!
    The day they evaluated him they were blown away and said they didn't need to take it to the committee for a vote. Just bring him back! That's my boy! So we are off and training. So much to learn!
     
    Dexter, drjs@5, Beanwood and 3 others like this.
  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Wow, that's fantastic! You'll both have a ball, I'm sure :) And it's such a valuable thing to contribute to your community as well.
     
  3. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Amazing! I have a good friend who has a SAR Labrador in New Zealand. She absolutely loves her job :)
     
  4. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Well done you for persisting :). I bet Edsel loves doing SAR training
     
  5. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    How wonderful! Hope we hear about your training, that would be really interesting.
     
  6. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Congratulations, how exciting, looking forward to future posts.
     
  7. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Congratulaions - a very worthy career for Edsel.
     
  8. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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  9. Lisa

    Lisa Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Fantastic! Looking forward to hearing all about it!
     
  10. Cath

    Cath Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Wonderful news
     
  11. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Busy weekend here as we left early Saturday morning to make 3 hr trip north to have an evening at a fest with family and retrieve my 11 year old great nephew who is visiting us for the week. Edsel is thrilled to have his very own boy for a week.
    Had 3 hours of night training last Friday. Edsel has progressed through the initial short "puppy runaways", the intermediate runaway drills and has been doing great with blind runaways of short distance. The group has decided it's time to try him out on beginning area searches of 3-5 acres. In these sessions the "victim" will go to hide in the area, after a period of time Edsel and I will go to the search area and he will start to learn to locate the scent and follow it to the source. This will be a change from essentially "following" a fresh scent trail just laid down within minutes before searching.
    We're training for live air scent which means we'll be used to either locate persons within an area or determine that no person is in that area.
    The team consists of live air scent, cadaver search and tracking/trailing K9 teams. As well as trained search staff who work without a K9.
    I am amazed at the amount of information there is to learn about scent, lost person behavior and search skills. As well as just learning to watch Edsel and understand what he is communicating to me. A long road ahead but having a great time learning!
     
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  12. Emily

    Emily Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Wow, sounds fascinating. I'm looking forward to following your journey :)
     
  13. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Off to night practice! It's been a few weeks. Some sessions postponed due to heat and other activities. Anxious to get back at it but it's going to be a hot one! Calling for heat index of 105-110. Will have Edsel's fan running full speed and the cooling blanket over the car. Hoping he will eventually agree to drink from a water bottle! Right now I just pour it over his face when in the field. But I have a big jug ready for drinking from his bowl. Wish us luck. He's to attempt his first area search tonight!
     
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  14. PawPrints

    PawPrints Registered Users

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    Good luck! I hope you don't get over heated and have a super successful practice.
     
  15. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Good luck Edsel! If you have the time to go into a little detail of your training that would be great, it's very interesting!
     
  16. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    So excited to report Edsel did a great job on his first area search last night! This involved finding a subject who is "lost" in about a 2 acre heavily wooded area. We had a couple there for the first time observing and the man played the lost victim so it was an added bonus that it was someone Edsel had no prior connection to.
    We're working to develop his skills in locating human scent in an area and following that scent cone to the individual. He has previously been primarily tracking a scent over a short distance to an individual to help him make the connection that finding a person is the goal. Once he finds the victim he's rewarded generously with a rousing game of fetch "squirrelly"! His reward toy. He works cheap!
    So last night Edsel was kept in the area of staging, the victim took a trail down into the search area and then went into the wooded area and positioned himself in brush behind a large tree. After about 5-10 minutes I take Edsel on lead to the other edge of the area, along with my support member. We also had 2 more observers along so this was additional distraction and scent to be worked through. Once we enter the search area, I place his collar with his bell on him which is his signal that it's now time to work. I tell him it's time to find our person and give his command, which is "hunt it up." This command can only be used for search and rescue work and no other play or seek games. And off he goes.
    He immediately began to range, moving in a zig zag pattern to locate scent. At one point a large group of students who were across the creek from our area began to cheer and shout and I just knew he was gonna be long gone to join them. I prematurely called him off, which I have to learn not to do. I have to develop more trust in his ability to be focused on his job. But after coming back to me, giving him a drink, which is also important, (need to keep their noses wet to work best) I told him back to work and he resumed searching. Within about 5 minutes of that time he was back near the area I had originally called him away from and he had located our victim. And began his extremely loud normally obnoxious bark! I was so proud of him. He's just got a natural talent for this. I have a lot of work to do to stay out of his way!
    It's amazing to watch these dogs do their job. 2 of the cadaver dogs successfully located their scent object which was in a sealed container, wrapped in a cloth bag, floating in water under a metal container inside a large plastic garbage can which had a plastic bag full of trash in it covered with a lid! Amazing!
    I am learning so much and gaining so much respect for these people and dogs who do this work.
     
  17. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Wow! That certainly IS amazing!

    You and Edsel sound really enthusiastic. Great to hear about this.
    Well done both of you!
     
  18. PawPrints

    PawPrints Registered Users

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    That sounds so awesome. You and Edsel are making great progress.
     
  19. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Edsel seems to be really excelling at this - you must be so pleased. It's a really valuable vocation.
     
  20. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Will Edsel train as a cadaver dog too, or do they specialise as one or the other?
     

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