Training Your Dog For Evidence Search

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Training Your Dog For Evidence Search

by Michael Russell

If your dog knows how to retrieve and enjoys fetch, this is an excellent exercise to begin to train your dog for evidence search. This exercise is for a dog that has begun wilderness air scent or trailing and has some experience with finding live people.

You will need several new, unused knee high hose or several new unused socks. You will also need to have several scent items from separate people. Try to collect at least eight and twelve is even better. A good way to collect these scent items is to buy a package of washcloths and ask your friends to "wear" a washcloth next to their skin for four or five hours and then request that they put the washcloth into a plastic ziploc bag. You will also want a number of small to medium sized rocks or large pebbles. And you will need your plastic gloves.

Begin by finding an area that has high grass, which is bordered by a path or mowed grass or a sidewalk. If your dog is an older puppy and has had some experience going into underbrush after his retrieval item, then you could use an area with brushy grass and undergrowth. Prepare your "evidence items" ahead of time by placing each of your scented washcloths into a separate sock or hose, with a couple of rocks for weighting it down. Use your plastic gloves to handle the items and try not to get your own scent mixed in. Place each item back in its own ziploc bag, sock and all and carry all of them out to your pre-selected path. Take your dog with you and when you get to your path, put the search gear on your dog. Put the dog on a sit, take one of the items out of its bag and give it a good toss into the taller grass. (Make sure the wind is right so that you are throwing the item into the wind and the dog can scent it). Give your dog the search command. When he goes out to "fetch" you must run with your dog and when he gets to the item, quickly pick it up so that he will not get into the habit of picking up the item; praise him and give him his usual reward for making a find. Walk down your path a way and do this again. Continue until at least four of the scent items are used up. If necessary use all of them until you know he has the hang of it.

Then you should put your dog away for a few minutes into its crate in your vehicle or back into your house and finish setting up the exercise with the rest of your scent items. If you have already used them all up, then do the rest of this exercise on another day with more items. Now you will want to go further along your path and standing at the edge of the path, throw each item out. Place a marker flag along the edge of the path at the point that you have thrown out your scent item so that you will have a good idea of where you have tossed it out. When you are done, you should have a row of flags with the rest of the scent items out beyond in the grasses. Now go get your dog again, take him to the first flag and tell him the search command. Since he has just been "finding" the scent articles, he should bound right out into the grass for the search.

This is almost a fail proof method of starting your dog on evidence search. He more than likely will start right out on his own to locate the item. If he should not, then begin to walk out towards the item so that he will get the idea. Once he has the idea of evidence search, you will want to set up some more evidence searches every so often. Also at this time, you will want to begin having your subjects bring scented items that they can leave as they are hiding for you. In no time at all, your dog should be indicating the dropped evidence as he is going in on the search for the subject.

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