Understanding the Basics of Training Water Cadaver Dogs
When a person is lost or has drowned in water, it is often a considerable challenge to recover them in a timely manner. This process is often made easier by employing a properly trained and handled water cadaver dog. These search and rescue dogs can be a valuable asset, but few consider the level of work that must be put into their training. Training water cadaver dogs is a process that takes a considerable amount of time, experience, and a solid understanding of training detection dogs in general. First we must ensure we have selected the proper dog, and then there are several keys to ensure that training that water cadaver dog is a successful process.
The imprinting process is one that we should take considerable time and care to ensure that it is done properly. We recommend using actual human remains for teaching all cadaver dogs, whether their work will be done on land or water. Regardless of the end use of the dog, water or land cadaver, we always start the teaching phase of training on land. This allows us more control and does not require as many resources. While imprinting, we want to ensure that the dog has a solid and positive association with hair, teeth, bone, blood, and tissue odors. Because we are dealing with odors that are organic in nature, the imprinting process will take longer than with detection dogs that work with chemical odors.
Once we are assured that our dog is fully imprinted with the target cadaver odors, we want to begin to teach the indication. In order to begin to reinforce the final indication, we must first have a solid understanding of what the indication will look like when our training is finished. Some people, while training water cadaver dogs, will dictate a very rigid final indication, where others will simply reinforce a behavior or chain of behaviors that the dog is naturally predisposed to. Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to understand the indication so that you can properly shape the behaviors that you want to see from the dog. Some trainers will teach the dog to sit, others to dig and some water cadaver dogs have been trained to jump into the water and circle the odor looking for their reward.
Once the dog is imprinted and the final indication is established, we should begin to shift the context of our training to the water. This is generally done by placing the dog in the boat and allowing it to find a hide placed in shallow water near the edge. Once the dog gives the final indication that is learned earlier, we will reward the dog for locating and indicating on the odor. We will repeat this process using different odors and varying their depths. This process continues in varying bodies of water with various challenges and distractions until we are comfortable that our dog can perform proficiently in field environments. This phase of training water cadaver dogs will require a great deal of resources. We will need a boat, cadaver aids, others persons to assist us and may need other tools such as scent pumps, etc.
If you are interested in training water cadaver dogs or want to become a professional dog trainer, our courses will give you all the skills you need. If you have questions about our programs or need more information, feel free to call us at 866.200.2207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org