The following information is intended as an overview of the training necessary for search and rescue handlers. Specific handouts, training sessions and guidelines are available from the training committee chairperson.
Training begins with basic manners and socialization of the hound. It is important that the bloodhound get along with other dogs easily. Search dogs are often transported together to their field locations and it is imperative that they can travel with other dogs and handlers. Schoolyards, malls, parking lots and workouts are the best places to socialize your dog.
Puppy training begins as soon as you get the dog. Lead, collar and harness training start from day one. Get the puppy or dog accustomed to the feel of the lead and collar and then put on the harness. Confidence and patience are the keys to successful training. Basic puppy trails start out as a hide and seek game.
Make the training fun for both you and the puppy so you both look forward to it. Keep the training sessions short and gradually extend them. Remember, the training is not just for the dog.
Handler training is just as important. Trailing is instinctive to the hound and needs only to be encouraged properly. Handler training includes learning to read the body language of the dog and understanding what it means. Specific hints and guidelines are available from the more experienced handlers.
The biggest mistake new handlers make is to start out too fast. Make sure the dog is ready to move on before you change the length, age, or type of trail. Change only one thing at a time. This means that you change the length of the trail or the age of the trail or the difficulty, one at a time. Changing too many things at once will confuse and frustrate the dog and may lead to failure.
BE PATIENT!!!! Always end the training session on a positive note. (Find something that he does well and praise him a lot.)