Dog Training Cadaver In Concrete Exercise

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Dog Training Cadaver In Concrete Exercise

by Michael Russell

When training a cadaver dog, the end result should be a dog that will indicate even the most minute amounts of cadaver. This is especially important since often a cadaver dog is called for in the case of a possible buried victim. Setting up exercises that will improve the handler's understanding of how the dog is going to indicate the very small amounts of scent is important for this reason.

One valuable exercise, which will help the handler gain this understanding, is to "bury" the cadaver scent in concrete. The handler needs the following equipment: a bag of ready mix concrete (five pounds is more than enough) and several flowerpots of the pressed fiber kind. Mark one or two of the pots by painting them a different color. (Research has shown that color makes very little difference to the dog.) Fill the pots with concrete and in the colored pots place a cadaver so that it is suspended in the center of the pot as the concrete dries. At the top of all the pots place a screw eye so that a rope can be attached. Allow the pots to set the required amount of time till the concrete hardens before you use them.

When handling the pots of concrete, whether or not they have a cadaver in them, it is important to handle all of them as you would any cadaver scent. Use plastic gloves at all times and be scrupulous in your care so as not to get your scent on the items. The reason for this is obvious. The cadaver dog must not be in the habit of alerting on objects, which carry your scent. Furthermore, it is also best to keep all the "empty" pots in one container and the "scented" pots in a separate container so as not to contaminate the unscented items.

When you practice with your dog, you can start with using the two pots with scent placed randomly in a group of pots that have no scent. This is a similar exercise to the utility dog with the metal "bones" that one sees in an obedience competition. The idea is to give the dog the command to search and then to watch his reactions to the different pots, praising him profusely when he indicates on the pots that have the dead scent. The pots can be used also when you take your dog out into the real world for cadaver practice. They are easy to hide without leaving traces of your own trail since you can throw them out with the ropes attached. These pots are also great for using in training the cadaver dog for water search practice out in either the water or when you are doing shore training. When you use the concrete pots for water practice, the "dead scent" pots already have a rope attached so that you can tie them off to the shore or to a buoy. Because the scent is in concrete, this weights them enough so that they will sit on the bottom. This makes for a more realistic exercise for the dog because the scent will thus rise in a similar fashion to that of a body lying on the bottom.

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