1. Understand the end goal for a detection dog. This is where behavior assessments and statements of work for purchase are very important (more info available on the website).
2. Use the educational resources on this website.
– The blog is short snippets of information that should inspire questions via email or via the Face Book page. Check back regularly for updates.
– There are peer reviewed research papers at various tabs.
– There are multiple links to other sites for additional information.
– There are multiple videos for referencing good detection development.
This does not need to be digested in a single sitting and is designed as reference material for you to revisit. Please go at your own pace and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
3. This is a pilot program that will use your input and records to create educational platforms. Consequently, the training records you submit are critical to all of our success!
4. The collection of phenotype (the expression of behavior) over the dog’s first year of life and the assessments will be used to find the genes and behavior of success. We ask you to submit this data in the form of weekly reports (google forms) and video submissions. This will require knowledge of computers and the use of certain websites to transfer information.
5. Most exchanges will be through electronic media. This requires checking email, referring to website updates, and participating in exchanges on the Facebook page. Most of this is automated with both email reminders and/or FB updates if you opt in.
6. The top two reasons dogs are eliminated for consideration during the procurement process are: poor environmental stability and low desire for the reward object. Those skills must be developed carefully throughout the dog’s development.
7. Detection dogs must express key attributes in the extreme. They cannot be average. These are elite dogs driven by motivation to find their reward object. They are not dependent on their handler to manage the environment or to find the reward. Their independence to find odor is what makes them good at their jobs.
8. Not every dog will be successful. This is true for European and domestic vendors alike.
9. Please view this as a community or national effort. Sharing and exchange of ideas are essential to individual success!
10. What to do with your dog:
Self reward and self discovery make a very independent dog. Do not micro manage the dog’s performance or make the dog reliant solely on you.
Creating an environment of play is fastest path to develop ability. In the beginning play has little form or rules and slowly evolves into structured games.
Possession, possession, possession! The dog’s desire to keep the reward object is what develops a dog’s search ability. It is critically important to establish this foundation. Remember, the goal is possession, NOT retrieving behavior.
You can do a lot of work at home to build the dog’s ability to negotiate environmental challenges, but don’t create a dog that can only perform at home. Make sure home playgrounds change frequently so the dog learns to generalize their skills.
Taking your dog for environmental exposure allows the dog to generalize their skills to unfamiliar places. Traveling with your dog prepares the dog for the essential ability to be transported and not be stressed. Make sure you have permission to take your dog to public places and have a clean up kit with you to clean up accidents quickly. Outings also allow the dog to socialize (exposure not contact) to other people and other animals. Gradually addd distractions as the dog matures.
A dog with all the creature comforts will not have the resilience to be evaluated in a large kennel. Kennel living gives a dog the ability to deal with that lifestyle.
You should not expect detection behavior if the dog is not in excellent health and regularly exercised.
Often people want to skip ahead – don’t! Thinking the search is more important than possession is a common mistake. Search for food is counterproductive for dogs being raised for object/toy reward. Training in sterile, inactive, and quiet environments can also hinder the dog’s progress.
Beware of the Clever Hans Syndrome: cueing, luring, and vocal control can fool you into believing your dog is on task when they are not.
Obedience can be detrimental to building a good detection dog. Again, their independence defines their future career. Good manners and control are important, but an explosives dog that is referring constantly to the handler is a liability.
Let the dog determine when they are ready to progress, not a calendar or schedule.