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Special Situations

Full Alert: Indication and Re-find Skills in Search and Rescue Work

Serious service

Service dogs of all types perform many specialized behaviors that are critical to their success as partners with their humans. As a search-dog trainer and operational handler for 25 years, I continue to be amazed by dogs’ abilities to solve problems and to collaborate with people in seemingly confusing situations, often under grueling circumstances.

Hearing-assistance dogs are trained to distinguish between sounds and to tell their people when the phone or doorbell rings or when the smoke alarm sounds. Guide dogs are trained to stop at curbs, and to look and listen for traffic to prevent their handlers from stepping into the street until it’s safe to cross. Search and rescue (SAR) dogs are trained to find missing people, to notify their handlers when they’ve located lost or missing people, and to take the handlers to those people.

Search and rescue dogs are used to find people buried in avalanches, lost in the wilderness, drowned in lakes or rivers, and buried in rubble during a disaster. SAR dogs can even locate human remains years after a person has died. A dog trained to scent discriminate works until the person matching the specific target scent has been located. The dog is trained to ignore all other scent during that search.

When Are You Coming Home? How to Ease Separation Anxiety

Alone again

Separation anxiety is a problem many dog owners face. Some dogs are merely bored when left alone and find their own ways to amuse themselves (often through behaviors humans don't find particularly amusing). Other dogs are genuinely distressed when left alone—or even when a certain human or animal leaves the household.

A Training Update: Niabi Zoo One Year Later

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Welcome back! Wow, it is hard to believe that one year has passed since the two-part series about our animal training programs at Niabi Zoological Society was shared on the Karen Pryor Clickertraining website. (Click here to read Part One of Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo, and click here to read Part Two.) We were also honored to have our training program featured in Quad-Cities Online this year. Click here to read that article.

Holiday Safety Tips from Doggone Safe

Family gatherings at a relative's home are the source of fond memories for many. But, the family dog may not enjoy these events as much as the rest of the family. Noise, confusion, and changes in routine are stressful for dogs. Even a normally calm and docile pet may become agitated enough to bite under the extreme circumstances of a boisterous family celebration. Supervision may be lax if each adult thinks that another is watching the children, and children are the most likely victims of dog bites in this situation.

Patriot Paws: Helping Dogs Help Heroes

Quiet and shy were the words used to describe Army veteran Scott Ramsey when he visited the service dog training program at a Texas state women’s prison. Scott had come to the prison to meet his new canine partner. 

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