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Vehicle Search Patterns

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    • #6146
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      In practicing this month (and at our NW2 Trial last weekend), I’ve been thinking about patterns for searching vehicles, and what might be the most efficient way to guide the search. Naturally, if my dog tells me we NEED to go in a certain direction, that’s going to override whatever pre-conceived plan I might have, but I’m wondering if anyone has any rules of thumb for how they go about searching a given pattern of cars in the most efficient way possible.

      For example, the with the basic layout for this month’s lesson — i.e., 3 cars parked side by side — would you try to cover both sides of the space between two cars with one pass through the middle? Or would you expect to need to walk that corridor once for the car on the right and a second time for the one on the left? Similarly, if you start with the back bumper of the left most car and continue up the middle (passenger side) toward the front, would you “suggest” to your dog that you finish the front and left (driver) sides of that car before moving to the middle one? (Again: note that my “suggestion” would only come into play if my dog was not expressing a strong interest in going one direction or the other.)

      At our trial last weekend, I did opt for guiding our search a bit, and was very glad of it. We started at the back of the first car and went along the passenger side and then across the front bumper, at which point we could have turned right to search the other two cars. However, Blackie wasn’t actively asking to go that way, so instead, I “suggested” to her that we continue along the driver’s side back to the back bumper, and indeed, we found the one and only hide on the corner where we had started — except that Blackie was distracted at the start, due to the alarm that was sounding at that time.

      So it seems to me that some patterning will be helpful in a vehicle search, in particular to ensure that you cover all four sides of all the vehicles. Or am I wrong to think that I NEED to cover all four sides of all of them? (And in posing this last question, I’m thinking of NW3 searches, which we now need to start learning.) I’ll welcome any and all input!

    • #6149
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Patterning can be helpful. I don’t have a particular method, it depends on what the search looks like and what my dog looks like. Bottom line I want him to investigate all of the vehicles. Another way to ensure this is to practice with hides in many parts of vehicles so your dog automatically investigates all parts.

      Good question!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6164
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Interesting thought… And should be obvious! In terms of searching all parts of vehicle, any preference as to how many hides to put on a single vehicle at the same time? I think I can see value in both ends of the spectrum: multiple simultaneous hides, so that almost any location is correct OR only one or two hides at a time and multiple rounds of searching. Thoughts? Limits?

    • #6171
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      At seminars, I have been instructed to walk along the front (or back) of the row of vehicles until my dog shows an interest and then let him pursue that odor – once found, return to the spot where he pulled off and continue around the “perimeter” of the vehicles. Some instructors advise then “wrapping” each vehicle and other say don’t bother. I think to some degree that would depend on how the vehicles are oriented – I essentially used this technique in our NW3 attempt and it worked well for us. There was plenty of vehicle that he did not search, but he still found both hides without detailing every inch of vehicle, and I was confident there was nothing else out there when I called finish.

    • #6172
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Kathryn – I also think that is a good option – if your dog is profoundly driven to finding source. There are dogs who defer to the handler a lot so they won’t necessarily detour down the row when the handler is headed around the vehicles. However a good once-around can be helpful and then going down the rows w/o blocking either side.

      Sue – I have done 4-6 hides on a vehicle and I’ve done 2 hides. As a handler training alone. I might suggest going with more hides and then determining if your dog is going to the same hide or finding others. I would NOT stop to cue the dog but follow the dog. Dog passes a hide so what? Keep going with the dog. Eventually you may need to pay/pick them up at the same time. And I also wouldn’t NOT pay if they go back to the same hide in this exercise UNLESS they go to the same hide by getting paid then turning back to it and ignoring the other opportunities available.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6173
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim and Kathryn! Good input

      Kathryn: just curious as to how many hides you had at your NW3 and how you knew you didn’t need to hit all sides of all vehicles?

      Kim: I like the idea of playing what I refer to as “Make Me Stop” with the vehicles. I think it has helped us to search with more determination. If the girls KNOW there’s something there that they missed (and I’m pretty sure they always do know…), that makes them perhaps more interested in signalling it if and when they get their second chance to do so.

      The plumber is parked in our driveway — I think I better go set a hide or two on his truck!

    • #6180
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Susanne – I may have to put that video up for the next movie week. It is so much easier to see than describe!

      We had two hides, and by walking the perimeter, we pretty much completely ruled out the back of car 1 and the entire car 2. He hit the odor cone for the hide on car 3 as he came around car 2, caught some blowing odor coming around car 4 that led to the hide on the front of car 1. I wrapped car 4 a second time just to be sure and he was clearly done. We pretty much skipped car 2 completely – Hunter showed no interest and there was nothing there to find. Not that this method would work for every team or every scenario, but it seems to work well for us.

    • #6191
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Hunter is very driven to odor! A dog with less determination might miss something if the handler doesn’t “help” walk the vehicles. Good idea to really WATCH those dogs for subtle cues and learn to “listen” and respond to what they say. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6194
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim. I like that clarification as to Hunter’s level of drive. Blackie can have some drive — but I wouldn’t say she is DRIVEN — and Biscuit is much more deliberate. So I think I’ll assume that I need to walk the entire vehicle unless and until they prove me wrong in that assumption.

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