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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Starting a new thread based on PM. I know that good victims train the dog. A bad one can set you back a little or a lot depending on the situation. I've had folks that I tell them EXACTLY where to walk and where to turn when laying a trail. All great till the dog goes off track and you think the dog is screwing up until you get to the victim and he says "oh, I thought that would be to boring [to go where you told them to] so I changed it." So you stand there just wanting to beat them into the ground because you forced your dog to take a track that wasn't there thinking you had a training issue you were fixing.

If someone could tell me how to "fix" a helper that lacks coordination and has no sense of timing, I would be grateful. They have the best of intentions but 'lack the gifts' to do it very well. I keep wondering if there is some kind of exercise that they could do to fix what is inherently not coming to them easily. The timing of the reward delivery is a struggle.
 

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might not help at all, but in tactical situations, when given instructions we would have to repeat them back to make sure both sides were on the same page

it made a difference, safety wise, and essential if you were outa sight and on a radio, and could get you killed if both weren't in sync.
maybe not as important in SAR training but might help minimize the "murphy" factor :)

i would also tell the helper up front and face to face that if the they didn't follow the route you laid out EXACTLY, it WOULD affect the training in a BIG negative way, and to inform you of ANY change BEFORE you sent your dog //lol//
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
might not help at all, but in tactical situations, when given instructions we would have to repeat them back to make sure both sides were on the same page

it made a difference, safety wise, and essential if you were outa sight and on a radio, and could get you killed if both weren't in sync.
maybe not as important in SAR training but might help minimize the "murphy" factor :)

i would also tell the helper up front and face to face that if the they didn't follow the route you laid out EXACTLY, it WOULD affect the training in a BIG negative way, and to inform you of ANY change BEFORE you sent your dog //lol//

what i'm reading in the example is a failure to follow instructions rather than a lack of coordination or no sense in timing which seems to be confirmed by their dumb ass reason they gave for NOT following directions //lol//

PM Post but posting with permission:


in terms of not following instructions, i deal with that on a continual basis with anyone i work with. it's usually a matter that i feel i gave them simple instructions but they allowed "murphy" to enter the scene and find a way to do something different. the only way i fix that is to shorten my instructions into simpler clearer steps...which of course makes the session longer than it might have needed to be. but if i give them too many details, for sure some will be overlooked.
- not sure what you mean by 'timing' ??

but with that said, my helper and decoy work has been 90% bitework, so can't relate to SAR training much at all. i've been a bad guy and run/hid, but the handlers didn't give me much in the way of instructions except to either stay low or high, and how to react when found, etc

sending by PM since i don't think u want this to drift into bitework oriented helping/decoy work, but if u wanna post it i'm fine with that too
The post covers several people. The current issue is definitely lack of coordination and off-timing. I try to not make my folks hop on one foot and chew bubblegum at the same time but wonder if anyone has some tricks to help with such things.
 

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your example had very little to do with coordination and timing, but based on your further clarification the solution for your frustration is simple

1. only train with people whose timing and coordination is as good as yours
2. laff when people do what they want to do rather than what you tell them

my experience at helper work for bitework is probably applicable anyway :)
nobody taught me how to catch a dog
when i got better at reading the dog i became a better helper/decoy

when your helpers can read you better, their help will probably improve too
 

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Jeremy
that's only true in golf :)
for most other sports, PROPERLY applied teaching can vastly improve all forms of coordination :)
.....most require a teacher or coach

but as Bob would say, some are naturals
 

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I've trained dogs with people that have confused the shit out of me, mostly due to a lack of communication or clear instructions. Then I screw up my own timing because I am too busy trying to read them or the situation that's unfolding.

Sarah, I only share that because I've screwed stuff up because I was trying to figure how to execute or react to what I thought the game plan is.

Maybe you need … or already have… off limit liberties. Or, give the instruction and take the walk with them with absolutely no plan of putting a dog on the trail.

I don't know, I drive myself mad when people ask questions for which I know there's an answer for but I don't readily have it. Then I start throwing stuff against the wall just to see what will stick.

Reverse engineer a problem. Have someone else drive the car.

I align these common sense type problems to driving and those of us know how to drive. In familiar neighborhoods we know what shortcuts to take, where the children are, and when it might be ok to do a Dukes of Hazard jump. But then you get in an unfamiliar neighborhood and suddenly the radio goes off, you lean forward, maybe slowly scan your surroundings, stop when you don't need to or don't when you should, etc. In fact, stuff we end up doing might actually cause an accident with those who know the neighborhood well.
 

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Jeremy
that's only true in golf :)
for most other sports, PROPERLY applied teaching can vastly improve all forms of coordination :)
.....most require a teacher or coach

but as Bob would say, some are naturals
You're ruining my dream of why I didn't become a professional hockey player....Lol. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will pull a common problem out as an example. You give a ziplock baggie of treats to the helper and tell them "when the dog gets to you, you give them ONE piece and each time the dog comes back to you give them one more piece".

So dog get to them, and they still have the bag tucked down deep into their pocket, still ziplocked shut. Dog is dancing all around and jumping on them. They start to push the dog back telling them to stop. I yell something like 'where are the treats? give them one'. They then have to struggle to dig the bag out and then open it. Fighting the dog, fighting the bag, etc.

Next time out I hand the bag to the person, opened already and tell them to hold the bag in their hand, with a treat in their hand and be ready to go. The dog is to get one treat when they get to them and then one treat every time they come back to the person. Dog gets to them and the person (same as in the first example) proceeds to feed the entire bag to the dog.

Next time, I hand the bag to the person, opened up, and I pull one treat out and say when the dog gets to you, the dog gets ONE treat (showing one treat in my hand). Don't give them more than one (showing the one treat in my hand). When the dog leaves to come back to me, get a second treat out and have it ready in your hand for when the dog comes back. (again, showing one treat in my hand). Do this each time, giving one treat, until the dog gets me back to you. So the first treat goes well, on the second trip the person feeds the dog the whole bag. Or forgets all together about the end treat.

I've had them repeat it back to me (the instructions), I've done role-playing, etc. Some folks get better, some have trouble still. The above is a typical example and I would say that 90% of the folks have a problem with it. I don't see where it's so hard or complicated but it must be. I was new once but I don't remember having this difficult a time with following instructions.

For decoy work, how many times do you see the helper feeding the sleeve to the dog instead of getting the dog to target the sleeve? Or putting a newbie dog together with a newbie decoy and neither knows what to do? The frustration of the decoy jamming the dog and falling over his feet. The dog learning but its a hot mess and you know that you will spend a little time straightening that out.
How do you teach folks how to do better? Dry runs? Go practice in front of a mirror?
 

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obviously the people you are using are too nervous to be able to think straight when the dog finds them. who cares what the reason is - dseal with the nervousness

start out 20 paces away until they know the drill
then move out farther
then send the dog to them (no nose work involved)

patience is needed as in all training when you start at rock bottom
i'm thinking the anticipation of the dog getting there is over riding their brain

this is nothing i've ever done so i kinda hate to suggest something soley based on training logic, (3 D's) but this drill should only waste about 20 min of your time :) (iow, maybe you increased the distance too much too quickly)

if they can't do it correctly at 20 paces in your line of sight, move on, which is also what you have to do by either washing a dog or telling the customer they need to find another trainer who might be more compatible.

i would consider a person who can't follow this type of direction mentally handicapped

when you video it, it'll go viral
 

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Ugh. That sounds so frustrating.

The solution is to get better helpers, but my guess is you take what you can get.

For the treat thing can you practice with a retired or older dog on a very short send? Just 20 - 30 feet where you can see what they're doing and give instructions as the dog gets to them and then back to you - repeat a few times so they get it? (Remember, lots of praise when they get it right, lol)

For track layers - can you give them a hand drawn map?

Can you create a standard instruction sheet?, State why it's important to follow the directions, that you are creating training scenarios that will play out in real world deployments and impact real people's lives. Also acknowledge that you appreciate their contribution and how important it is to your dogs' training.

That's all I got.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
when you video it, it'll go viral
This is something to consider. More of a learning tool.

The title can be: 1,001 ways to screw up a dog without even trying
 

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Sarah you are in the SAR world, what do your peers say? Is this a common problem with them as well? If so has anyone found a way though it?

rick suggested something similar to what I said: reverse engineer the problem. He said shorter distances. That's basically what I meant. If you have to half or quarter that distance to get the reward process right then do it.

I have a video on my YouTube page, it's private but the reason I made it was one of my club members had a habit of walking out to the field without a clear plan, more importantly the sessions went far, far too long, the drive would lower, the dog would get sloppy in the work or dirty in other ways.

I took the video for accountability, I recorded the session and the handler had a spotter to keep them on task. I think recording a short session might be revealing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sarah you are in the SAR world, what do your peers say? Is this a common problem with them as well? If so has anyone found a way though it?

I took the video for accountability, I recorded the session and the handler had a spotter to keep them on task. I think recording a short session might be revealing.
The problem can be standard with any new people when starting. Pretty common in fact. One gal wrote up a beautiful paper on the subject that I still pass out but it doesn't help with the timing issue or the forgetfulness.

For some, the answer is to tell them they are not suited to SAR and are encouraged to quit or pushed off the team. Sort of a thanks-but-no-thanks. Some hook up with another team as a better fit (similar to sport dog clubs, different personalities, etc). The group I am working with is spread out and diverse. Some good, some not, just like any other team. Some folks pick it up, some seem to struggle the whole time. That's why I was asking in case someone had run across a similar issue. Don't need to reinvent the wheel if its already been done.
 

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Well, I suppose you could PM Brian, if you haven't already. Maybe he's got some ideas for you since he works at things from a different end than most of us do.
 

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Short, simple list of instructions with the game plan for training? If you can't print it, text it to their phone.

Some people (me) process better when they can read information. Not everything I hear gets retained, having something to refer to later helps it stick.
 

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Is the dog off lead when it finds the "victim:?

Is this a recall, re find or is the dog expected to stay with the "victim"?

Possibly your creating distance to fast for a green dog?

We trained the search dogs with the "victim" holding the dog's Kong and got a "bark and hold" alert from the dogs.

The only thing required from the "victim" was to NOT let the dog get the reward until the handler got there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bob,

In the food situation, the dog is off-lead for refinds. Each time the dog gets to the victim, they get one piece of food, then when they return to me, I also give them one piece of food. The dog keeps pinging back and forth until everyone gets in the same spot. Then the dog gets a bigger food reward.

For the bark alerts, the dog is rewarded with the tug and the runner plays with him a bit as I walk up or stand off to the side letting the two of them play. Then the dog and I play all the way back to the truck with the dog keeping the tug and he usually spits it out after he hops in.

The problems I am having aren't with the dog. The dog is doing great but things could be moving faster if the victim(s) (which we all know actually trains the dog) weren't such klutzes or followed directions better. They try but their response to stimuli is off. It's like they are trapped in the exact moment and can't deal with that moment or prepare for the next one.
 

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I still think e collar with the page feature on them would help you induce the timing you want to get from them. Have you tried it?
 

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I would initially leave the dog out of it and take the "helpers" aside and pretend that YOU are the dog.


Then you can work right in front of them without interrupting or screwing up the the dog's training.

Same philosophy as walking a heeling pattern without the dog for obedience competition.

Get the human on the right path instead of working a dog AND the helper at the same time.
 
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