Arizona Search Dogs

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Additional Training Techniques

The “Snap Up”

This technique is used to encourage the bark alert, plus the dogs love it. We use the bark barrel for this one. It's designed to get the dogs really jacked. You, the victim, crawl inside the barrel, feet first, so that your head is near the opening. The dog is some short distance away, maybe 50-75 feet from the barrel, watching and anticipating. You've got his favorite toy. You also have the bark barrel lid handle held with the other hand. When all are ready, you yell, scream and wave that wonderful toy. The dog is released. You continue to yell, scream and wave his favorite toy as he races towards you anticipating an easy victory. Just before he reaches you, you snap up the lid, shutting yourself and his best toy in the barrel. Timing needs to be perfect. You don't want to hit him (or yourself) in the face with the lid. Deprived of an easy win, he barks furiously to get his toy (hopefully). Depending on how good your timing is, and how fast you can move, you can tease him more by quickly showing a little of the toy out the side of the lid then bringing it back in. Additional screaming usually just eggs them on, so let it out. When he is good and amped up, open the lid and play vigorously with him. This can be repeated several times in a row.

The “Two Toy”

We use this technique to encourage the dog to stay with the victim once he has been rewarded for the find, and to discourage a “victory lap”, or several that some dogs like to do. As the name implies, you must have at least 2 of the dogs favorite toys, and they should be ones with some sort of “handle” that allows you to play tug with the dog. After the dog does an appropriate alert on you, you offer his favorite toy. Vigorous play ensues (remember that screaming and yelling are good things). After several good hard tugs by the dog, let him win by releasing your hold on the toy. He thinks he is a big, bad search dog, “Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh”!! That's when you produce another toy and wave it around. The new moving toy should be much more interesting than that one he's holding that is no longer being tugged. He should drop the toy in his mouth and grab the one you are enticing him with. More exciting play happens while you sneakily grab the toy just dropped toy, hide it, and get ready to produce it after you let him “win” again. It's important to only produce one toy at a time, and to release that toy before you produce another. In the dog's mind, he has found the source of unending toys! Why leave? This continues until the handler tells you to stop, or your arm gets worn out.

July 6, 2011 at 12:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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