Imagine you are on a search task with your dog in a heavily wooded area. You get to a wide stream with steep sides sloping down to it’s surface. This impassible piece of nature is not marked on your map and runs directly through the center of your search area. You begin walking along its edge, looking for a safe place to cross. Your dog continues searching while you are plotting the new water course on the map. He begins alerting, becoming quite interested with the brambles and fallen logs along the far side of the stream. He becomes quite agitated looing for a way to cross when he finds several fallen trees piled like dropped matches spanning the gully. Carfully he climbs the perilous bridge to the other side and finds the boy everone had been looking for happily sleeping under a fallen tree nearby.
Agility training for a search dog is important to make the previous story possible. Much like competition agility, the dog is taught to go through a variety of obstacles. While agility dogs are taught to go through the couse as fast as they can, search dogs learn to be carefuly and even, slow.
This weekend we worked on building out new agility course. It looks like something I wish I had in elementary school.