Home Search Links
About Us
Board Officers
Contact Us
Frequently Asked Questions
TRSAR Dog Team
SAR Training Schedule
Mission Index
Fossil Creek Index
Project Lifesaver
Donation Information
Topo Quads
Wilderness Survival
Current Payson Weather


TRSAR Dog Team

Dog Training June 1, 2013


We had an amazingly good dog training today, Saturday, June 1st.  We met at Shoofly at 0730:  Toulouse, Ringo and me; Greg and Chill; Jim and Lewis; and Co and Stuart.  It was windy, blowing straight out of the northeast, which can cause problems for the dogs, and us as well.

 I didn't have an extra handler so we decided to do split tracks.  Lewis and Chill would do the first tracks, with me handling Ringo on the way out and the way back.  Then I'd get out Toulouse and do the same thing a second time around.  This way all four dogs would get in two tracks.

 Co and Stuart set out a track going northeast out of Shoofly.  Jim went first with Lewis, and after about 10 minutes, Greg and I set off with Chill and Ringo.   Lewis had been scented on Stuart.  When we were several minutes into the track, we heard a bark across the distance, signaling that Lewis had found Stuart.  And then a call from Stuart - "Lewis found me!" 

 Greg had also scented Chill off Stuart, and I had scented Ringo off Co.  A split track presents several problems to the dogs.  It is most important to most SAR dog trainers that the dog doing the split goes after the missing person they scented on.  However, we have worked our dogs reinforcing them that they were correct to go after either missing person.  If they happen to pick the wrong one first, they are rewarded and encouraged to keep working until they find the "correct" or "next" person, the one they originally scented on. 

 This day was special.  When we hit the split,  Chill committed to and took off to the right, and Ringo committed and took off to the left.  Neither dog watched or looked after the other one, and both were on the right track.  Chill quickly found Stuart.

 I was watching Ringo being right on track to find Co, when our clips suddenly disappeared.  Ringo was still on track, I was sure about that.  I radioed Co and asked if she had quit using the clips, and she said she had, she had just been following the forest service ribbons in the trees.  And Ringo was following those perfectly. 

 Finally Ringo found Co's clip bag and water bottle.  This time instead of hunting around for her, he sat down and stared straight up, and there she was, about twenty feet up in the tree.  Although we train on people up in trees a lot - by people I mean usually Co or Stuart - I'd never seen Ringo look up immediately.  Usually it takes the dog a few circles around the tree to eliminate the fact that the person that they are searching for is not close by, and then they look up.  Our training must have been paying off, because Ringo bypassed the ground search and looked up immediately.

 In the meantime, Chill had found Stuart easily.  This was kind of a breakthrough for us, that we could work two dogs in tandem, but have them split off and find their particular subjects.

 I put Ringo up and got out Toulouse, while Co and Stuart set another split track in the opposite direction.  Jim wanted to do an air scent track for Lewis, so he set Lewis off first.  We could see them from the parking lot doing a wide arcing track after Co, so Greg and I set off after Stuart.  Chill had no problem finding Stuart as he was the lead dog.  In the distance we heard Lewis barking that he had found Co, a signal from Lewis we always listen for.  Then we switched things up,  Greg set a track and Stuart worked Chill while I worked Toulouse.  The area we were in was the slope southwest of the parking lot.  Toulouse got on Greg's track immediately.  Greg radioed he had been stopped by a fence, so I instructed him to stay by the fence and come back through the stile.  But as this sometimes happens, Greg went in the opposite direction, around the back of Shoofly and went through the stile on the east side. 

 I didn't know this.  I expected Toulouse to run out of scent and circle back, but he kept going, nose to ground.  I have learned in these circumstances to let the dog go, and so I did.   We got to the stile and Toulouse went through it, and found Greg.

 It was a banner day for the dogs, who all did very well considering the heat and the wind.  We thank you for your support of the dog team. 


Back Home Up Next

Copyright 2017 Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad