Archive for search dog in training

The Quickest and Most Effective Way to Train a Working Dog

Posted in dog training, Search and Rescue with tags , , on August 7, 2013 by rattlerjen

I think most trainers these days started out using the “old way” of training dogs. Times have been changing for the better. I thought about researching and writing about this subject myself. I then came across this article and decided they did a fine job already.  Let the comments fly.

Dogs used in service to help and even save peoples lives are being trained faster and more effectively these days.  Here is what a  bird dog trainer found out:

Shotgun Life – Expert Dog Trainer Robert Milner  <— Click Me I am a link!


Molniya Tries The Agility

Posted in dog training, pets with tags , , , on May 15, 2013 by rattlerjen

Our little puppy is growing so fast!

She did an amazing job on the agility today.

Are there treats in that hand?



Arrr!  I walk the plank for those tasty morsels.


walk the plank


Treats?  I don’t need silly treats!  Even this swinging plank is cake!


swinging plank


I think I might need a bit of help with this one

pipe bridge


Climb the stairs?

open stairs


Almost there.

almost there


I did it!

i did it


Down under we go!

short stuff


You want me to go in there?

tunnel 1


For a frisbee?  SURE!



Woo hoo! Let’s do more!


Rovers on the Rubble

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on May 13, 2013 by rattlerjen

Today, our team trained on the urban search and rescue’s rubble pile.  I got some wonderful pictures of some of our fantastic pups braving the wreckage.

grummanrubble1 IMG_1689 IMG_1696 IMG_1742 IMG_1793 IMG_1841 IMG_1867 IMG_1915

A little new puppy update for spring

Posted in dog training, pets with tags , , , , on April 1, 2013 by rattlerjen

We have been busy here

Our new puppy is growing up so fast.  She can do nose work like nobody’s business!  We have been to two dog obedience classes and have had a lot of fun.

Starting over with a brand new puppy is hard work!

I have forgotten all of the things that I must do to turn her into a good search dog.  Time to review some of my previous posts! – 10 Dynamite Tips for a New Search and Rescue Dog

Right now we are working on her recall.

I have fallen into the dog training trap nearly all of us have done at one time.  She has a fantastic recall at home. (She looks a lot like the roadrunner from the cartoons,) her feet all a blur when coming when called.  Alas, when we are out and about.  She can decide a blowing leaf, a blade of grass, or a pile of deer poo far more important than listening to me.  It seems like such a pain in the touche to grab the long line, treats, toys, and pile the dog in the car to drive to someplace new for every training session.  So, I convince myself I will do it tomorrow and simply train my dog in the living room.  BAD dog owner!  This is something that will come back and bite me in the touche.  It is like going to the gym or for a walk, no one wants to get up and do it, but once there you are glad you did. I timed my last training session outing and it only took 10 minutes all told!  That includes the drive to and from the park!

Lesson learned.

If you want a well behaved dog, you need to take little field trips.

Now shut up, put those shoes on, and get off that bum!


The recall is very important to Search and Rescue dogs because we work air scenting dogs off leash. Forget the idea of the bloodhound dragging the handler around the woods.  Those are how tracking/trailing dogs work.  My dog can choose to chase deer, roll in poo, play with another dog, splash around in the stream, or work. He can play keep away and chase me games if he wants. Grom, my operational search dog choses to work instead.  He will even come back to a call or whistle blow while in hot persuit of a herd of deer!  How did I get such a wonderful recall?  Practice.

Practice at home with no distractions.  Then practice in many other places without distractions. Then add distractions working closer to the distractions and then working around more difficult distractions.

Best I get started then.

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , on January 18, 2013 by rattlerjen

What a beautiful day it was at training.  The weatherman assured us it would be warm and sunny in the afternoon, but it turned out to be foggy all day. Spooky and gorgeous.

We started off with some obedience practice with all of the dogs.  I think Grom did a bang up job on his recall and his down stay.  I do have to admit that our heeling is abysmal.  No worries, I taught him to walk on the right side so now I can teach him a proper heel on the LEFT side using only shaping techniques.  Yay, a fun project!

Molniya, our new puppy is learning what search and rescue is all about.  She absolutely loves everyone and everything.  She also gets (squirrel!) distracted very easily and has yet to figure out what she is supposed to do when she is taken out of the car.  I love puppies they are so CUTE!  Our little girl is one quick study.  This is her second time out of the car at training today and she quickly gets in to the barking for her toy.  I think she is well on her way to getting the hang of this thing!  Good girl.

Here she is a few days before.  She spent probably five minutes sniffing around before she decided to get her brain in gear.  She finally gave me a nice bark and got some very nice play.  Then, a man started throwing a ball for his off leash dog in the park.  WHOA!  puppy brain distraction major event!  I needed to end on a good note with her attention on barking for the toy, not for the awesome free dog with the ball running around. So, I moved her to the other side of my car where she could not see the other dog and tried again.  SCORE!  What a good girl.

Meet Molniya

Posted in pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on November 27, 2012 by rattlerjen

A name that means lightning

I think it’s a pretty good fit.

Meet the newest member of our pack. Mini-G or Molniya is a Belgian Malinois that was given up by its owners because she was destroying the house.  That’s a malinois for you. She needed a job.  She also got a big brother in the bargain.

Molniya (pronounced Mol – nee- ya) brings joy to everything she does.

Her favorite thing is to try and lick you to death while furiously wagging her tail in a big circle. She was given up to a wonderful rescue organization called Bully Paws as a puppy because she was just too much for a family with a toddler.

What a goofy puppy

She was soon adopted out to a family that just did not know what they were getting in to! Belgian Mals certainly are not the sort of dog that likes to go for a simple 30 minute walk, a few minutes of ball play, and will sit on the dog bed for the rest of the day.  She will go non-stop for hours!  When she is bored she will reign destruction on anything within reach.

I wonder what I should destroy next?

She was given back to the rescue organization and lived with half a dozen adorable pit bulls in her foster home.  Her foster “Mom” and pitt buddies were beginning to have enough of her shenanigans. The little minx was playing with the bullies to exhaustion and bugging everyone long after they were done playing for the day.

Her foster parents even had to put her crate in a quiet room and put a towel under the door so that she would get some sleep!

ball ball ball ball!

Until she grows out of her puppy brain, She gets lots of kongs and other nice toys in her crate while we are gone. No eating shoes like Grom did little girl!

Here she is getting evaluated as a search dog, playing with Todd.

She is the perfect candidate for a working Search and Rescue dog.  She loves everyone including children, strangers, dogs, and even other animals.  Most of all, she loves playing tug!

I think aaron has taken to her

We are truly lucky to have been introduced to this wonderful girl.  Look for further postings on her progress in search training along with her big brother. Grom.


Fava Beans and Helicopters

Posted in dog, pets with tags , on June 14, 2012 by rattlerjen

Why does my dog look like Hannibal Lecter?

He will be training to ride in a helicopter in a few weeks!

For safety he will need to wear a muzzle and ear protection.  We are thinking about getting the little guy some Doggles to boot!


One thing I did notice was how difficult it was to find a proper fitting muzzle that still allowed him to breathe. We decided that a cage muzzle was the way to go, but none of the sizes fit.  They were either too big and he could easily push them off his narrow head, or too short in the muzzle squishing his wet little nose at the end.  The solution was to search for suppliers of military dogs.  For only a few dollars more, we had a muzzle custom made to fit Grom’s Belgian Malinois face at For Dog Trainers.

Training to wear the muzzle was easy.  Treats treats treats! That muzzle has been smeared with peanut butter and all kinds of delicious stuff on the inside. Grom barely noticed I had adjusted the muzzle to fit on his head as he licked happily at the inside of the muzzle cage.  After doing this several days in a row, he put his own head in the muzzle tail wagging.  I of course had a spoon filled with Peanut Butter waiting in the kitchen waiting for the cooperative little mutt. I smeared the cage with the stuff while he was wearing the thing and Wham-O, he was a fan.

Ear Protection

There are a few options for ear protection.  A few individuals on our team chose to order Mutt Muffs.  I, on the other hand, visited a horse riding store and bought those squishy form fitting foam thingies you shove in your ear.

Equifit ear protection

Equifit. It’s for horses, but with scissors. It’s for Dogs

I simply cut them down to size and inserted them in my pup’s ear.  They stayed in even when he shook his head. After a few minutes, he stopped noticing them.  I of course gave him lots of treats every time I put them in his ears.  Now I get a tail wag every time I take the foam triangle wedges out.

For the win!

Now, All I have to do is get him to wear eye protection.  Then, take him on a field trip!

Where will we go?

It is not the air field, but the train tracks.  We have a nice little town with a train running through it about 15 minutes away. On the other side of a fence and secured well on a leash we can practice getting used to the loud sound and wind produced by the train wearing all of our fancy new gear.  It may not be a helicopter, but close enough.

Man, I sure love treats.  They are magic.



Working on that Backslide

Posted in dog training, pets, Rescue Training, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , on October 18, 2011 by rattlerjen

You saw it last week folks.

Grom started having problems during our trip to New Mexico.

We decided to take a huge step back with his training to do something fun.  Even an operational dog appreciates something very easy and fun every once in a while.  While you my enjoy a challenging job, you would burn out quickly if you did not have a few super easy days.

How far back did we decide to go?

How about an entire year!

We decided to do what is known as a run away.  It is an exercise he learned to do as a puppy!

I ran away with Grom’s toy and hid behind a bush.  Grom saw exactly where I went.  Aaron gave Grom all of his commands including, “Mission” (go search for the person), “Preach” (Bark at me to tell me you have found the person), called the dog back,  and “Save” (Lead me to the lost person).

On a real search and during many training days, we do not call the dog back to us and give him the “Preach” command.  The dog works on his own during a search and is often out of view of his handler.  His job is to find the person then come back to the handler to tell them he has found someone.  Therefore, I can only give him the preach command if I SAW him next to the lost person in the woods.

Grom ranges very far from me sometimes, often coming back to see were I am and to check the scent of the people walking with me before bounding out of sight again. Barking is how he tells me HE has found someone and to go follow him.  Sometimes when a dog “forgets” how to do something, you can give him little hints and encourage him to build confidence and make the exercise fun again.

Grom had a ball doing this fun little exercise


Did this little exercise solve our little problem?

Find out on Thursday.

Grom’s New Mexico Brain Freeze

Posted in dog, Dog diary, dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , on October 10, 2011 by rattlerjen

The trip to the desert state had been going quite well.  Grom had a great trip on the plane, sniffed at some really interesting boots hidden near a lake, and even got to play on some nice playground equipment.

The trouble started with an easy little problem on the farm.

We went out to visit some family out in the country.  Everything was cruising along smoothly, until we did a short field search problem on the farm.  We hid someone under a tractor and started Grom on the other side of the house.  The whole family was watching from the window of the house.  I gave Grom the search command and he bolted away from me into the field.  His nose diligently working the air while his legs carried him bounding across desert sand and over dried grasses.  He was having fun!  My brother in law followed me holding the video camera while his fiance hid under a big hunk of metal.

Grom sped back and forth across the field searching the edges of the scent cloud blowing across the field. He got closer and closer to the house, near the window everyone was watching from. Then he put his nose to the ground.

What in the world is he doing there?

A potty break?

I know the girl hiding did not walk across that patch of ground.  Plus, Grom is not one to try and track on the ground.  He was in scent for goodness sakes!

Grom then began to paw around at objects on the ground.  Oh great, he is messing around over there.  As I got closer, I knew what it was he must have got into.  Egg shells littered the ground at his feet.  Grom had found the compost pile.  Sigh.

I called the little goof off and sent him back to work.  The little monster defied me with a nice long pee on a crushed egg shell then trotted around before going back into a run.

Ok, he is back to work.  Whew!

He made a few turns then zeroed in on the hidden subject.  I was too far away to see clearly, but I knew he had found her.  Why in the world is he hanging out with her?  I counted… one….two….three. I had no idea what was going on and did not care. I sure hope he wasn’t trying to play with her before coming back to tell me!

Time to call the boy back. Reluctantly he left the hidden subject and loped back to me.  Knowing that something bizarre had erased his little noggin, I gave him the bark command.  He is well past needing hints. What a trouble maker!  I let him give me a few barks before sending him in to play.

Let’s hope this was just a one time occurrance.  Perhaps a new place threw him off?    There is the rest of the vacation to find out …

Bouncing, Wobbling, and Sliding!

Posted in dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2011 by rattlerjen

A little bit of agility fun at the playground

On our little trip to New Mexico, we ran across a very nice playground to practice a bit of agility on.  This little park had everything a search dog needs.

It had a suspension bridge, a wobbly set of disks, slides, ladders, and tunnels!

Watch the little fuzzball run through a few of the obstacles in this short video.

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