(Please visit Dino's on-going blog at: http://dinostraining.blogspot.com/)

(Please visit Dino's on-going blog at: http://dinostraining.blogspot.com/)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

December 28, 2008

I have one more post to catch up on for a track I did with Dino a couple of weeks ago, but I have had to not do a lot of tracking training with Dino in the past couple of weeks. I had to spend a couple of weeks finishing my book to send to the editor. That is called "Renting with Rex." The website is www.rentingwithrex.com. The blog is www.rentingwithrex.blogspot.com. I finally did that today so I can start some more tracking training. Plus, it has been raining and snowing non-stop for over two weeks. Tough to want to get out in that weather. It has been so frigging cold. But that is also good practice for the both of us, so really no excuses.

I ordered Ed Presnalls's "Mastering Variable Surface Tracking: The Componet Training Approach" (book and workbook. I am looking forward to getting that. I think that is best to focus my training on VST with Dino. If he can master that, he can do any location.

Onto 2009. Should be a great year. Lots to look forward to!

I would like to mention that Donna lost Loki on Christmas Day to an accident, which she has not explained yet. What a big loss. He was a great dog with a lot of training and experience behind them. Donna needs to figure out what she is going to do without a dual purpose search dog. She has Anubis, but he is only cat detection. I don't envy her position at all. I don't know what I would do if I no longer had Dino. Way to tough to suddenly go through that. Way to young. Dogs shouldn't die young. Their lives are too short anyway, even if they die of old age.

Monday, December 15, 2008

December 14, 2008 From Discussion on PetHunters Yahoo Group List

December 15, 2008

Very good ideas. I like the three second rule, especially in training to give the dog a chance to check things out and explore, and to give him the benefit of the doubt during a case. I have been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt since the has the nose and I don't, and that is why I am training him for this work. He has skills I don't have. I want to build the trust I will need to give him eventually on casesHowever, when he pees on a bush or goes to visit somebody who, he feels, might have food, I use "get to work," in a firm voice, which I got from Donna. Thank you very much for your feedback. I appreciate your time.

Jackie Phillips

December 15, 2008

Hi Jackie,

Larry Allen told me when I was working Buck that he uses the three second rule. (this was a lot of years ago so he may have changed since.) He made a good argument for it.
It is consistent so hopefully the dog will develop it as a pattern
you can use it on searches or training
you want the dog to maintain momentum
you don't know what the dog is smelling it could be something bad for the dog. He used fertilizer as an example that you would not want your dog sniffing.
My friend Lisa Harper worked with some folks and came back with the take home lesson that you should not let them stop at all. They told her to use a zero second rule.
I think you want to do what works for you and your dog and the situation. For example if I am at training and the dog is off the track I probably will not give her the whole three minutes to process. Likewise if we are looking for a track or working a cat and she suddenly decides to visit the local fire hydrant she gets zero seconds to process. On the other hand if we are running a track suddenly the dog hooks and stops to sniff something I give her a few seconds check the area visually and / or ask my walker to check the are area carefully we have found some nice clues that way.

Training is the time to experiment with what works for you and your dog. Be consistent with what you are doing and monitor the results.


December 14, 2008

I like that idea. I need to remember that we are both learning this. I have tried to keep the tracks at an hour old, and I have tried to just work on one thing at a time, like indicating that there is no scent, which is our current project. I may need to go back down to shorter times and shorter tracks. Thanks for the reminder. Thanks for the feedback.
Jackie Phillips

December 14, 2008


I'm not very experienced with dog training as Dakota and Montana are the first dogs that I EVER had in my life...So I have done a lot of stumbling along the way. But here is what worked for me when Monty was getting distracted. I simply went back to short fresh trails to remind him what he was supposed to focus on...it worked for Monty and I.
Now when he get on the scent he gives me a bark that says to me "I got it Mommy....it is this way!"

Some of the more experienced trainers may have better suggestions...but I hope you find this helpful or at least encouraging.


From: Jackie Phillips
To: pethunters@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 3:28 AM
Subject: [pethunters] Training Question

OK, I have a training question. And this may apply to both training and actually working a dog on a case.OK, first in training, when you know where the scent is. Say you walked the dog laying the scent along a path or sidewalk and off the path are various parking lots, yards, etc. How much time do you allow a dog to check out each of these areas before you pull him back to the track. Since you know the scent is not there. Several minutes? Or do you not pull him back at all? In a real case, you won't know where the animal went, and you want to encourage the dog to check all these areas thoroughly. On a real case, you would allow the dog to check the area for as long as they choose, or until they give the indication of no scent. How does that translate to training when you know where the scent is? Dino is real good about checking various areas along the track, and I don't want to discourage him from this at all. But he is also easily distracted, so I don't know how much time to give him to check out all these areas and try to keep his focus. Does this improve with his maturity on tracking?Thanks.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, December 9, 2008

Lowden Park, Weaverville. Weather was clear and cold. Started walking Dot around 3:30 PM. Many people in the park including a couple of loose dogs in the playground.

I walked Dot around the back corner, near the fencing and then out to the street. We crossed the street, walked down the sidewalk and then crossed again back toward another opening into the park. This part I thought might be tough for Dino because this spot goes off into three directions. We took the turn to the right, around the baseball diamond and then through a gate, into the field, across the field and then back out and through another smaller park. The car was off the the left in another parking lot.

I put Dot into the car and then I took Scout out and walked her on a cross track across Dot track just coming out of the baseball diamond. We walked around a bit in that area, and then we walked back again across the same track and back to the car.

I waited about another 15 to 20 minutes so the track would be about an hour old. I took Dino out, put on his harness, got his bag of treats and his rawhide bone. We walked another way into the park not near Dot's way into the park. We came across Dot's track, I showed him the scent pad, said "Take Scent" and "Search." He lifted up his head just barely and then put his head down and immediately started searching. He followed the track along side the wall up to the open field. Prior to getting to the field, he went into the fenced field about 15 feet, stopped, turned around and came back to me. I had him sit and clicked and treated because I felt he indicated on his own that there was no scent in that area. I said "check" and pointed to the ground, and he followed the scent as it continued around the outside of the fenced field.

He followed the scent into a completely enclosed pitching practice area. It was small, and he got to the end and turned around on his own and went back out without a hesitation. I thought about clicking and treating but I didn't want to distract him. He went back out to the open field and there he seemed to get confused which way. He started to back track and then came back to me and looked up at me. I said "check" as I pointed to the ground. It took him a couple of times before he picked up the scent again. he followed it around the fencing of the park. Toward the end of the park where there was a left turn to go out onto the street, there was a man walking a large German Shepherd off leash and Dino became very distracted. I don't know if he wanted to play with the dog, or if he was concerned that the dog was off-leash and running around. Since I didn't know what the man was going to do, I took Dino a bit further up closer to the fence and said "check" to give him something to focus on. The man walked the dog away from us in the direction we just came. Dino had a tough time getting back on the track in this area. He kept going off in a direction I knew the scent was not. I brought him back to where I knew it was and said "check." Finally, he got the scent on the way up to the opening to the street. He seemed very focus again. Then the man with the GS came back in our direction inside the park, and Dino lost focus again. He missed the turn off the sidewalk and across the street. I had to bring him back a couple of times to where the scent was and restart him. Finally, I just brought him across the street and said "check" and he picked up the scent.

He seemed very focused along the sidewalk, and he "check" several spots along the way and then came back to the sidewalk. Then he went right past the spot where we turned to go back across the street. I let him go around 15 feet, and then brought him back. Just before the turn to go across the street, Dino stood still and turned his head and body toward the park just at the spot where I had crossed with Dot. I was ecstatic. I clicked and treated and praised the hell out of him. He seemed pretty happy. We went across the street back to the park.

He followed the track back into the park around a set of restrooms to the right side. This is where the footpath goes in three directions that I noted earlier. He didn't want to go to the left, but he was insistent to go further, which was a concrete set of bleacher seats. I had to stop him at the end of the leash about three times. I couldn't click and treat because he wasn't indicating that the scent was ending. I brought him back to the spot into the park and tried it about three times. He seemed confused which way to go. I told him "check" as I pointed at the ground. He was going around and around. Finally after a couple of minutes, he got the right directions. I verbally praised him.

He got the track into the baseball diamond, across the field and back out. At this point, he could see the truck and started to go toward it, which I thought he might do. I brought him back to just outside the field and said "check." He picked up the scent as it went straight, through a smaller park and picnic area and he got the left turn to go back out to the parking lot. He got lost just inside the gate. I brought him back and said "check" and then he got it out the gate and toward the truck. I let the long line go, as he ran to the truck. He ran back to me and then ran to the truck. When I got there, I had him down (his signal when he finds the scent source) and I gave him his treat bag and played with this rawhide for several minutes.

I think what I will do from now on is to open up the truck and make him go into the truck to where either Dot or Scout are to go actually to the scent and show the animal, not just the truck. He may get confused that he is going to the truck and not the animal down the road.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weather was clear, sunny, no breeze and a bit chilly. Ground was dry. Area is surburban residential combo with some sidewalks and some areas with no sidewalks. Houses and buildings are right along the edge of the street. I specifically wanted to work on spots where Dino would run out of scent and train him on that area. Time was around 11:30 AM.

I had John walk Dot along the edge of the street where there weren't any sidewalks. I had him walk up a private driveway, stop at the top and then turn around and walk back towards me. I had John walk along the edge of the next building and around the edge of the small parking lot and back out to the sidewalk. Then he walked along the edge of the next building, which let out to the main street. We made a right at the corner and walked along the main street. At the end of the street the corner had a paved parking lot. I had John walk Dot diagonal across the parking lot to the next street. We made a right up the street. About 50 feet up the street, I had John stop with Dot and we talked for a few minutes, standing in the same spot. I wanted to see how Dino would respond to a scent pool. We continued up the street, which had no sidewalks.

There were a couple of short driveways along the way, and I had John walk Dot up the driveway, stop and then walk back. At the next corner, we walked diagonal across the paved parking lot to the next street. We then crossed the street to a sidewalk that walked along Lowden park. We walked all along the side of the park, a distance of half a city block. At the next corner, we crossed the street, staying on the same side.

At the next driveway, I had John walk up the driveway to the corner of the garage and walk back to me. I saw a cat sitting next to the front door of this house. I wanted to keep in mind if Dino would pick that cat's scent up.

We walked down the street back to the car. Along this street there are several fenced front yards with loose dogs. They were barking at Dot as we walked by. See Dot's blog on that training session. We got back to the car. I had intended to take Dino out and work him on the track, but we had to make a quick restroom break first. We got back to the same spot about 1/2 hour later.

Started track with Dino about 12:45 PM. I put his harness on and got his treat bag and rawhide bone and started up the street. I walked up first the driveway that was the first dead end of scent. Dino walked past where the scent was and kept going toward another field. The property owner came out to ask me what I was doing. I was trying to describe the training I was doing with Dino, but he couldn't understand. He kept saying "I hope you find the lost animal you are trying to find." I did click and treat Dino as I saw him stop and come back to me and sit in front of me showing there was no scent. We walked down the driveway and made a right toward the main street.

He got the scent that followed around the edge of the next parking lot and he came back out and followed the scent in between the poles back out to the street. We walked past the next building, which was on the corner of the street we were on and Main Street. There was a woman sitting just outside the store's door that was also there when John and Dot walked past earlier. I told her what Dino was doing. She said, "For real! That is cool!"

We made the right turn onto Main Street. I was trying to practice in areas of what to do when there was no scent. I would intentionally have Dino "check" areas that I knew had no scent, and then I would have him come and sit in front of me, training him that his indication was to do that when there was no scent.

We walked down the street, and I had him "check" different spots. He got the "around the trees" out in front of the auto parts place. He definitely was following the dog scent and not my scent.

When we got to the corner, he followed the scent into the parking lot and he started to go into their back lot, which had no scent. He did seem to slow down a bit and seemed a bit unsure what to do. I had him come back and sit in front of me and I clicked and treated. I would like to see on his part somehow that something has changed, liking lifting his head, a searching for the scent back and forth in order for him to understand that something has changed in order for me to click and treat. I don't want to click and treat if he keeps going and I have to stop him and take him back. That is not an indication that something has changed.

I walked him back out to the sidewalk where the scent was and said "check" and he followed the track diagnonally across the parking lot and to the street. He made the right turn onto the next side street. He followed the scent up the street and then made a sharp right turn into a type of loading dock. He walked up the short set of stairs and then came back. I clicked and treated. An employee of the gas station on that corner asked what we were doing and I explained Dino's training. She thought that was "a great idea."

Dino continued on his own up the street and went right past the scent pool without a hesitation. There were a lot of ins and outs along this street. The buildings were various distances from the street, so Dino was going around and in and out of the yards checking everything. When we got to the lumber mill when I had John go up a driveway and then come back, Dino went up the driveway and kept going past the spot, and then started check the buildings in the immediate area like he had lost the scent. I had him come back to me and sit and I clicked and treated. We went back to the spot where John had stopped and said "check" and Dino started back down the driveway toward the street.

He made the right turn back on the street and continued the scent along the edge of the building and then made a right turn into another driveway of the same lumber business, which John and Dot did not go. He was checking along the buildings. I didn't stop him or reset him because the scent could have easily floated that way. He did follow into the yard with pretty good enthusiasm so I couldn't click and treat. I brought him back outside the yard and said "check" as I pointed toward the pavement and he followed the scent alongside the building of the lumber yard and continued up the street. There was another driveway and parking lot of this same lumber yard a bit further up. Again, he went into it sniffing around. I don't want to discourage him from checking things. However, since it is a private place, I can't really encourage him and allow him to sniff all over the place where there isn't any scent. I did bring him back out to the sidewalk and said "check" and he followed the scent along the sidewalk. I think I will allow him to check an area maybe for a few minutes at a time and if he doesn't find anything, then bring him back out. I am not sure. Maybe I will post a question to the Yahoo group.

He continued up the street, which was a semi busy street with sidewalks. He got the right turn diagonally through the parking lot. However, he then missed the left turn across the street to the park. Instead, he kept going straight toward a Scout House. He made a right turn into the back of the Scout House and around the back. He then found an old pudding cup and started to eat it. I quickly pulled him back. I brought him back to the spot he got crossing the parking lot. This time he got the left turn across the street toward the park.

He followed the track all along the sidewalk along the park. He crossed the street on the same side and walked right past the house where John walked up the driveway and where the cat was sitting. I didn't see the cat this time. He followed the track down the street, past the houses with the barking dogs and straight to the car. He got the treat bag and I played with the rawhide toy.