A few months ago I placed an ad in our local shopper for anyone interested in playing hide and seek with my dog, and although I only received one response, it was a perfect one. Dawna has been involved with Search & Rescue for many years and also has trained for Schutzhund. She came over to my place and helped a bit with Tucker and Chance, but as it was late fall and the weather turned cold and miserable, we haven’t had a chance to get together again.
Meanwhile, I had talked to my local vet also about SAR in the area and my firm belief that Rat Terriers would be an excellent dog for this activity. Their son is a member of the West Elk SAR group, and it was mentioned that there is a lady locally that is training her dog for cadaver work. I located Elane on Facebook, and was able to ‘meet’ her online. Elane also has many years of experience in SAR, as well as Schutzhund and other protection dog sports.
This passed Friday, we were finally able to get together at the local fairgrounds and we each either laid trail or worked our respective dogs. Dawna and her friend Mike spent some time with me and Chance as we waited for Elane. We did some puppy runaways with him watching me leave and hide, then we moved on to her turning his back to the direction I was going, and then have him find me. We had him search for Mike a few times too, which he did well on, considering the fact that he doesn’t know yet what we are asking of him.
Puppy runaways are when someone holds the dog and lets the dog watch the person run away, jumping and dancing away from the dog, calling the dog in an excited voice, then the person ducks behind an object. The dog is given a command and released, and encouraged to ‘find’ the person with excited and encouraging voice. After a few of these, the dog is turned around so they can’t see the person run off and hide.
I think that now that we have the initial introductions done, we should be able to meet on a regular basis and start laying some good trails for each other. I am so excited to be able to have met not one, but two ladies, with the knowledge and experience in training dogs to follow a scent. I hope to learn much from them over the time that we have to train together.
Here is a video I took the other day of Chance trailing some critter in the field near home. He is very intense and sticks to the trail. I look forward to bringing that tenacity and ability to our training sessions and seeing what we may accomplish.