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September 29, 2020 – 3:16 p.m.
A Kamloops dog has passed the test she and her handler have been training for every day since she was seven weeks old.
Carole Capper and her three-year-old German Shepherd cross Ada are the newest team of Kamloops search and rescue dogs after passing their wilderness search validation test last week.
“My experience with Ada has been very different from that with a companion dog,” Capper said. “It’s not just a dog walk, there is a whole host of things to do.”
They began with regular obedience training and research strategy practice.
“Part of this is learning to communicate with your dog,” she says. “Learn how your dog tells you he’s on the scent, so research body language.”
This body language is called a cue, and dogs are trained to indicate when they have a scent, and again that they have found their career.
Although Ada trained every day, it wasn’t just hard work.
“Play is a very big part of that training, and developing that bond between you and the dog is also a part of it,” Capper said. “There are all kinds of things like play, engagement, impulse control, that help develop this dog and develop this partnership.”
She said that the better the bond between the dog and the handler, the better they would work together on the road.
“People are the weakest link in the partnership,” she said.
“Usually we are the spoilers, not the dog. So our mantra is to trust your dog.
Capper and Ada were among some 20 dog teams that attended the BC Search Dog Association’s fall camp in Merritt last week, where RCMP Police Dog Services conducted validation testing for the dogs. civilian search dog teams.
The couple join the ranks with two other canine teams validated on Kamloops Search and Rescue.
In addition to working regularly to maintain the wilderness research discipline, they will continue to work on the follow-up discipline, which will be required by the RCMP in the future to be validated.
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