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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a very close call with my little female yesterday. We had scent (through an air pump device which forces are over a scent object, and through a tube to an aquarium stone) about 20 feet out in the water and 8 feet under - she found the scent source where she is supposed to circle and I threw the ball in the middle of the scent. She saw a much bigger marker buoy nearby and went for it.

Got tangled in the line, went all the way under, popped up twice(nose only) - I had just got my boots off to go in when she broke free - halfway back to shore she turned around because she forgot the big white ball on the rope (the buoy) and started back to it. I had to really holler at her NOT to go back for the thing and get tangled again. Threw a hot dog in my pocket at the lowly tennis ball in the water that she was supposed to get and got her back on course.
 

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Your girl did a great job in finding source. Glad she is okay and was able to break free on her own from the bouy. :) Although no doubt, you would have been in the water for the rescue had she not broken free on her own. I have a question - as I know very little about water rescue dogs - is it possible for the dogs to do the work wearing a dog life vest? - or would it hinder the dog in its work or cause more problems with entanglements etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We tried Cyra in a dog life vest and she seemed constrained by it. She is very monkey -like in the boat when she gets in scent and is over the edge tasting water, and moving around on the boat from front to mid section.

We have not done much yet in large open water, but I feel that if we were to need one that is the only place I would put one one her. So I still want to condition her to using one.

In having had a few other minor entanglements, the dog does not think, "I am tangled what must I do to get out?" - rather they fight it for all it is worth. Now on barbed wire I was blessed that Cyra would stop and look at me with a disgusted "get me out of this" look, but not in the water.
 

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Glad all worked out well. I know how such a situation can cause for a great deal of concern. Since I've been blessed with one of the few Labs that is a poor swimmer. I've gotten wet more than once. He now wears a life jacket. He just had to get used to it. Line is always a concern which is why it's always a good choice to have a sharp knife on you.

DFrost
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fortunatly Cyra swims like a little fish and will even dive under water to retrieve objects, but she has a real knack for getting tangled in stuff. A diving knife will be my next purchase. A lab that is a bad swimmer, I would like to see that. Grim is also a good swimmer.

We are still trying to get her used to a jacket just because on open water a capsised boat would be a long way from shore and a little dark dog is pretty invisible for boaters to see in the water.

Once, I TOLD my parents not to leave her unsupervised in the back yard and they did anyway and they found her dangling by her rear leg from the *hot* wire that I run around the inside top of my fence (the power had been turned off to the wires) - my dad also was determined to *wear her out* playing fetch. He came in two hours later with a sore arm.

I am grateful that when she does get in trouble she does not panic and does not try to bite when you try to help her.
 

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Those situations can make a wreck out of you. I've seen dogs get tangled in fishing line more then once.
On a side note: Have you had any of the dogs visually hitting on the bubbles? It can happen.
We had a rig that could be worked in a parking lot. The air hoses were ran to four or five points on the outer edge of the boat and operated independently via aquarium valves. We could create scent from any direction. It was a good way to get the dog sitting in a boat without a lot of concerns about safety. It can, of course, be used on the water also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bob, we HAVE seen that and are working the bubbles now by giving a good blast then turning them waaay down or off when we get into visual range as there is still enough scent. What I was seeing was the dogs would locate the source using nose but relied on the visual confirmation of the bubbles way too much for the final alert.

I think we did too much with divers (without rebreathers) at the start and, were I redoing it, would only have enough sessions with divers to let them know water is fun.

I got MUCH out of this weekend as the other team has a NAPWDA master trainer as a member and she really helped us with some issues in that regard and with some issues with alerting on the fringe instead of at source.

One thing I really picked up on is just how much Cyra licks the water. She caught scent on the shoreline problem a good 100 feet downwind from source and would go in lick lick, come out go in come out go in and when she got in the area around the source swam out to it which she did not do when she was sampling.

Much of my year has been spent transitioning to learning human remains and water, so I hope subsequent training will go faster - I had gotten pretty good with trailing but am going to only work a dog in the HRD areas. I am certain the trailing experience will make me a better flanker, though.
 

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With a pond of 2 or so acres or less, it's interesting to walk the shoreline and see how the dogs pick up scent. That can sometimes save a lot of boat time.
 

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Bob, that's how we started water work. Placing target on the bank, at the waters edge at first, then slowly placing it into the water. It does help if you have to work small ponds, which seem to be a favorite hiding place for those that don't want a body found. Walking the bank of a smallish pond, as you said, works very well in those instances.

DFrost
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Do you want the dog to go in and circle in the water or to alert on the bank?

My dog did not have a lot of cadaver experience before hand (something I would change) but she is the one consitently who goes out in the water to source. The other dogs with heavy experience in cadaver seem to want to alert at the bank.
 

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I want the dog to respond on the bank, relative small ponds etc. We had one find of a drowned boater in a river, where the dog also responded on the bank. This isn't the best scenario, of course, for large bodies of water. In the situation with the drowned boater, we were waiting until the horde of enthusiastic volunteers could be slowed down a bit before we put the Kodiak in the water, it just seemed a bit crowded, if you know what I mean. Fortunately, (for us anyway)the body was tangled in some tree roots, near the bank but in about 8 feet of water.

DFrost
 

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Connie Sutherland said:
Nancy Jocoy said:
.... One thing I really picked up on is just how much Cyra licks the water. She caught scent on the shoreline problem a good 100 feet downwind from source and would go in lick lick,....
Is this unusual?
Not at all unusual. Lots of dogs will really start biting the water when it's gets on the source.

Working from the bank can give a good indication of where the victim is based on wind direction. We would often walk the perimeter for a starting point on boat work.
Obviously with a larger body or river, current and inability to go around is a huge factor.

In addition to the scent tubes and air hoses, we made small concrete blocks with U bolts imbedded in them. The concrete was mixed with " training material" and tossed in the water on a heavy test fishing line.
 

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On the subject of life jackets for dogs, I wanted to recommend the Fido Float. This is what I have for Gypsy, and I will get a shepherd-sized one later on, for boating on the lake. Gypsy's a terrific swimmer, but on 'big water,' you just never know what might happen, so I make her wear it if we go out in a boat. It's not restrictive for her at all, although the pictures kind of make it look like it might be tight around the legs. Here she is wearing it at the beach the first time we took her - back when she was just over a year, shaved down, and recovering from demodex. She looks so funny shaved :oops: :lol: I didn't know if she'd take off swimming or not, so I put it on her just in case. It didn't affect her ability to run and jump and play in the least:

http://www.angelfire.com/tx6/shrinercpa/beach.html

I like the double grab handles and the zipper across the back instead of velcro under the belly.
 
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