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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the case of detection dogs, it is known that a fully-trained detection dog will alert to at least 7 (even up to 14) different target scents. How would one introduce a target scent and every scent thereafter?

Just curious...
 

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I always introduced a new scent in small, hand held containers (salt shakers). The scent is in a salt shaker in one hand and the reward (food initially) is in the other hand.
With the command given, the dog is rewarded for first just looking in the direction of the scent. The reward is slowly held out at arms lenght from the scent container but the dog must look/alert at the scent source and the reward is always given AT the scent source.
This eventually leads up to rewarding only for the alert at the scent source.
From there, I will start hiding the scent container in many different places.
For cadaver work, I use blood, bone, hair, tissue, etc as one initial trianing scent but will also work up to combinations of these scents at the same time.
The alert is up to the trainer and/or the scent trained for.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, Bob. In the case as in your example --- a cadaver dog --- where you started with blood, when would you start with hair, then skin, etc.? If you've gone as far as introducing let's say target scent#7, must you always get back to target scent#1 (blood) every now and then?
 

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Not Bob , but I can add with cadaver you regularly train ith the full spectrum, both individual items and combined items

The salt shaker method is ONE way of imprinting taught by a fellow, I think, in Oklahoma but there are other ways -- throw tubes, scent blocks, just setting it out and soliciting an alert when the dog notices it (and they will) etc.

We don't train one scent, then ignore the first and go on to the next -(maybe people do with drugs or bombs?) you will may set out multiple hides on any given day each a different variant. You may also combine them all in one location for a more representative *total picture*

WIth cadaver the *target scent* is really MANY diffferent nuances / variations of the SAME scent. blood, body fluids, tissue of various types, wet bone, dry bone, burnt flesh, adipocere (grave wax), mummified remains, dirty dirt, etc.- hair may be in the matrix but people have gotten into trouble training hair as a separate scent.....and then you have to ensure they don't alert on dead animal scent or the scent of any containers used in training. And not to alert on sewage, and some other scents of things that may be associated with people but that you don't want the dog to waste time alerting on.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, Nancy. Did you mean "throwing" a cocktail of target scents, then allow the dog to go thru, praising if he picks up the right targets and correcting if he picks up those that are not?
 

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<<If you've gone as far as introducing let's say target scent#7, must you always get back to target scent#1 (blood) every now and then?>>

Using your scenario; when you are finished with obediance training, do you ever go back and reinforce "sit". Just like in any other type of training, you are constantly reinforcing odors. In our program, we train on one odor at a time, while the majority of the time is spent on a new odor, odors already learned are reinforced throughout training.

DFrost
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, David.

So when you train one odor at a time, when is that time you switch to the next odor?
 

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Jose Alberto Reanto said:
Thank you, Nancy. Did you mean "throwing" a cocktail of target scents, then allow the dog to go thru, praising if he picks up the right targets and correcting if he picks up those that are not?
Typically only one source can fit in a scent tube but you set out scents EITHER singly or as a cocktail - remember this is just talking about cadaver where the dog is more likely to encounter a body with all of the elements (blood, tissue, bone, etc.) not just one.

No correction if he picks up the wrong scent but the wrong scent does not *pay*

I still list each different type of source used in training to ensure reliability on the full spectrum or any individual component. I have a numberd accession log so that I know what each source is and when it was acquired and how it was stored and when I train, list the ID of each source used in my log.

They do still get the new source as a separate source until they are solid on it. But we still train on the old and combinations thereof.

I do think there is a distinction with cadaver being one basic scent with a lot of variablily as opposed to many, I assume more distinct? scents with drugs and bombs? Don't know anything about those things.
 

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We work on one odor at a time. Adding a second odor only when the dog has shown he knows the previous odor. We document each time the dog is exposed to the odor (we call it a "trial"). Experience has shown us when the dog is capable of giving 10 consecutive, unassisted positive responses, he knows that odor, at the basic level, it's time to add the next one. Just for the sake of discussion, let me explain it this way. We look at training a detector dog (the odor is really not relavant) as:

1. exposure to odor

2. response to odor (assisted)

3. response to odor (unassisted)

If the handler knows the location of the target, has to give any cues, verbal/non verbal or physical then it's an "assisted response"

If the handler does not know the location of the target and the dog give the proper, positive response, then it's considered a "positive response".

The dog meets the criterion of 10 positive, unassisted responses, at the introduction level, then odor number 2 is introduced. Odor number 2 training will remain at the basic level until the criterion is met. Meanwhile, the difficulty level will be increased for odor number 1. When the criterion is met on odor number 2, odor 3 is introduced. Now odor number 1 and odor number 2 is will be worked on the increased difficulty level and the next odor is introduced. This continues until all odors have been introduced.

It's a lot simpler than it sounds. All is documented.
The trainer knows exactly how many exposures and is able to identify any weaknesses quickly.

DFrost
 

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Nancy's explination of cadaver work was much better then mine.
One thing I will add that bone is sometime treated as a seperate item.
It's not uncommon for skelectal remains to be scattered over a wide area by coyotes, etc.
In such a situation we may "calibrate" the dog at the scene with predominately bone.
Same thing for searching a burned out building for victims. Burned tissue and bone.
Cadaver detection has many different variables related to length of time since death, temperature, burned, burried, etc. These difference are sometimes hard to train for and can confuse a young, inexpierienced dog. Some dogs never have a problem with these differences.

The guy in Oklahoma that Nancy referred to is Grady Jarvis. That's where I learned the salt shaker method. I like starting with it simply because I can work a new pup in a very relaxed atmosphere (sitting on my butt in a chair). :wink:
 

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David, do you combine different scents? MJ, meth, etc, Or in explosives,TNT, gunpowder, etc?
 

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<<One thing I will add that bone is sometime treated as a seperate item.
It's not uncommon for skelectal remains to be scattered over a wide area by coyotes, etc. In such a situation we may "calibrate" the dog at the scene with predominately bone. Same thing for searching a burned out building for victims. Burned tissue and bone.
>>

I actually store my bone separately for that reason - have been on one of those coyote calls and between them and the other critters...bone is all you got.

We were working as groundpounders {accompnaying other dog teams} after people grid searchers *cleared* an area....amazing the size of some of the bones (verified on the spot as human by the coroner) that got missed by the people

Now maybe it is overkill but I have one container with bone in water, one dry bone, and one in dirt.
 

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Bob, I will combine odors. I combine them only after the dog has learned the odor invidually. I know of trainers that start off will all the odors at once, kind of an odor cocktail so to speak. As training progresses they single out each odor. I've never seen where this is a problem. Speaking with some of the trainers that do it this way, some of whom I have a great deal of respect for, their results are equal to any others. I'm just old and a little more traditional in that respect and prefer them one at a time. As stated though, once the odors are learned, often odors are combined. This is done because of real world working issues.

DFrost
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For explosives or drug detection, must you work in small and big quantities of scents? I've learned that some dogs are skilled in indicating even traces of target odors but are totally "lost" in big quantities...
 

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Jose Alberto Reanto said:
For explosives or drug detection, must you work in small and big quantities of scents? I've learned that some dogs are skilled in indicating even traces of target odors but are totally "lost" in big quantities...
That question is for David, but I've seen cadaver dogs completely freak out the first time with a "full size" find.
I was training a really nice Austrailian Shepherd when the team I was on went to the "Body Farm" in Knoxville Tenn. She was young and inexpierienced and wouldn't go near the full body "finds". No problems at all with completely decomposed (skeletons).
She wasn't the only dog that had that particular problem. She did get over it.
 

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<<<For explosives or drug detection, must you work in small and big quantities of scents?>>>

For most applications, yes. A trainer would want to train the dog to detect a varying quantity of odor. In reality, the objective of the dog team would dictate the range. For example; a dog used in post blast or accelerant detection would require more residual odor than a dog used primarily in explosives detection. Often times trainers are limited to the amount of material they may have on hand and have to become creative in the way they "increase" the odor available to the dog. On many occasions, using drugs as an example. If one of our dogs had a "mega" find, we'll call dog handlers from the local area and ask them if they want to run thier dogs on the find.

Detection dogs are trained to give the final response when they are physically as close the to source of the odor as possible. To do this a dog will work from the smallest amount of odor detectable by the dog, looking for the next strongest level of odor. They continually search for the next strongest level. When they can detect no stronger odor is when they respond. When a dog encounters a lot of odor, they can no longer detect a weaker level from a stronger level. That can cause confusion, to the dog, on whether or not to respond.

DFrost
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
David, this may be a silly question but in the case of a mega-find where the scent of the target substance permeates the room, will the dogs still be allowed to pinpoint actual location?
 

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<<<will the dogs still be allowed to pinpoint actual location?>>

Good question, one that has to be looked at by defining "actual location". With a detector dog, the actual location is going to be the strongest point of odor, or what we refer to as "source". One also has to look at this question from an accepted tactical or legal standpoint when applied to "actual working conditions" as opposed to training scenario.

For example: During actual working conditions, we are using a drug dog to sniff a tractor trailer pulled over for speeding. During this sniff, the dog gives a positive response on the doors to the trailer. In the US, that response gives the officer the authority to conduct a search of the trailer. For the dog, the closed doors were as close to the odor as the dog could physically get. Tactically, the dog may be put back in the car and the search conducted by the officer. If the dog were to be put into the trailer, and the odor was so strong that the dog could not tell a weaker odor from a stronger odor. We call this the point of saturation. It would be similar to you buying perfume for your significant other. While trying to decide which to buy you get a snoot full of several different bottles. After a time, you can't tell one from another, they all smell alike. (try that sometime if you haven't a reference point and you'll see what I mean.) This also points out the importance of conditioning the dog to give the response when it is at the strongest point of odor. The strongest point of odor however is not always where we mere mortals think it is.

DFrost
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you very much, David. I appreciate it.

In explosives, is there a substance common and present in whatever type of explosive that if one trains a dog for that substance alone and does good, then he'd do well in explosives detection?
 

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Jose, there are just some things that make me feel uncomfortable discussing on a public forum. I mean no offense and hope you appreciate my concern. I'll have to decline to answer that question. I will say, when training explosives detection dogs, I train on a minimum of 13 odors.

DFrost
 
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