Monday, August 19, 2013

Who Knew? No Nose for Tracking

Yesterday, the spouse and I threw the four Border collies in the Honda Civic and drove to the nearby park to walk the dogs and watch a demonstration on search and rescue dogs.

These dogs -- mostly Labrador retrievers and German shepherds -- use their noses to detect scents of people and human remains.

After explaining the search and rescue process, scents and dog training, the search and rescue group asked for a volunteer that their dogs could track.

Of course, the spouse volunteers. Don't we all have dreams of being found by a dog?

So, he hands me two leashes -- leaving me with four Border collies -- and treks off to a field where he will hide. Unbeknownst to him, they weren't going to "find" him right away.

So, I had time to take the four Border collies on a walk around the prairie and woods. We returned and sat in the shade to watch the search dog and handler work.

Eventually, they found the spouse. Whew!

Upon his return, I told the spouse that if the search dog hadn't found him, I'd have sent the four Border collies to look for him.

At which point, he laughed.

"You and the dogs walked with 10 feet of me," he said. "Caeli looked right at me, then turned and went on."

"They're sheep herding dogs," I said. "And you are no sheep."

[Note: Border collies are used as search dogs. Some handlers like their smaller size and agility when doing searches through rubble. But they have to be trained to use that sense of smell... And apparently none of mine have been.]

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