Detector Dogs and Scent Movement

Detector Dogs and Scent Movement: How Weather, Terrain, and Vegetation Influence Search Strategies by Tom Osterkamp, published by CRC Press: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

ISBN:13: 978-0-367-07429-6, 236 pgs. $64.95 USA, £47.99 (GBP), $101.00 (AUS), $113.00 (NZD)

When Mr. Osterkamp asked me to review his book, based on the title I thought it would be just another run-of-the-mill book about scent for SAR dog handlers. I was very wrong. This book is by far the most meticulously researched book that I have read in a long time. It is a collection of scientific material that covers in depth, all search situations regarding scent detection dogs. Each chapter has sub chapters making it easy to find the exact information you need. There is a detailed index, and three appendices, Abbreviations, Acronyms and Questions and Needs for SD (Scent Detection) Training and Deployment.

In his Preface, Mr. Osterkamp says, “This book reviews the scientific literature on scent and scent movement with emphasis on scent movement in outdoor environments. . . . Throughout the book, comments and suggestions are made to show how handlers can use the information in training and deploying search dogs. Several new hypotheses are made about scent and scent movement.”

Although no book can explain how to handle every situation that a SAR dog handler will encounter, Detector Dogs and Scent Movement gives the handler in-depth details that will help the handler make decisions in the field. Mr. Osterkamp has lived up to his statements in the Preface.   

I liked the fact that he included cause and effect situations, for example: “When a dog or handler works harder and longer during a search than during training, the dog is more likely to give a false alert and the handler is more likely to make mistakes.” (pg.46)

Mr. Osterkamp’s writing style is direct and unbiased, presenting scientific studies in a manner that is easy to read and understand. However, this book is not a how to train your dog guide. The material in this book will help the handler understand how scent affects his dog on a search, in training and how to better utilize his dog for the maximum results. The chapters outline potential problems and a summary of the chapter.

There are seven major chapters:

1. Introduction

2. The Dog’s Nose and Scent

3. Scent and Wind

4. Above Ground Searches

5. Buried Sources

6. Water Searches

7. Trails and Trailing

I have to strongly recommend that every scent dog handler and trainer, SAR or other working scent detection K9’s as well as those who use dogs in sports that involve scent work, study this book.

On Kitten Creek: Searching for the Sacred

On Kitten Creek: Searching for the Sacred, A Memoir by Nancy Swihart, Cladach Publishing, 185 pgs., $13.49, ISBN: 978-1-945099-02-1.

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On Kitten Creek was a very pleasant and surprising read for me. I found that I could relate to many of the author’s feelings and experiences. Ms. Swihart tells us how she had visions and plans about what she wanted to do, her job, ministry, and even the house she wanted as she and her family moved from California to Kansas. But God had other plans for her and her family, and of course God’s plans turned out to be much better. Her experiences are a testimony to all young people to have faith through life.

As Ms. Swihart shows us, it is hard to see the vision while you are young and traveling down the path of life. But the lesson is clear as one looks back, have faith and trust. On Kitten Creek is a good book for all ages, and an inspiration for those who might be struggling with life’s situations. Although it is a Christian book, it is not preachy and I found it a delight to read, more like a novel then a memoir.  Ms. Swihart is a gifted writer and the book is easy to read.

Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals That Served in WWI Allied Forces

Soldiers in Fur and Feathers

“There goes Little Jim!” the soldiers would call outfrom the trenches as an unusual messenger dog flew across the fields. Little Jim was a small black Pomeranian mix who was so fast that soldiers described him as a black streak.

In December of 1915 the soldiers of A Battery, 52nd Brigade, RFA, purchased a goose and gander to be fattened for Christmas dinner. However, some of the soldiers decided that they were too cute to eat. So a trial was held to determine their fate. It was decided that they should be mascots for the duration of the war. They traveled in the mess cart with their heads hanging out for the rest of the war. What a comical sight they made.

Pitoutchi the cat is credited for saving his masters life inthe trenches. How could a cat save a man’s life from the Germans?

One of England’s largest seaplanes went down in bad weather. The only hope for survival depended on a pigeon, one pigeon out of three that survived the crash. Did he make it?

The variety of animals and birds were involved in WWI is amazing. Any type of animal or bird could be a mascot. Some mascots went to battle and some stayed behind to cheer the wounded or relieve stress for the newly arrived soldiers.

Read these accounts and many others in the book Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals that Served in WWI- Allied Forces. An autographed copy of the book is available at www.sbulanda.com you can also purchase it on Amazon or at www.alpinepub.com

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my new blog site!

ID-100373827Check back often (or subscribe via the button on the right) for posts to help pet owners with health, safety and training information; and to share information on dog training, behavior, and search and rescue. Additionally, I look forward to sharing:

  • Behind-the-scenes stories and excerpts from my published books
  • Safety and health tips focused on cats, dogs and parrots
  • Photos and stories about dogs I have trained through the years

Some of the questions I am asked most often revolve around dog training. Some basic tips include:

ID-10041702Remember, dogs do not speak English, therefore you must SHOW your dog what you want. Your actions speak louder than your words. All of your body language speaks to your dog. Therefore, your ATTITUDE, FACIAL EXPRESSION AND TONE OF VOICE communicate to your dog. You cannot try and tell your dog that he is not doing the right thing while you are hiding a laugh because you really think your dog’s behavior is cute or funny. Your dog will laugh right along with you. You cannot ask your dog to obey you if you hesitate in your movements. Your dog will not believe that you are the leader. On the other hand, you cannot bully your dog or physically punish him and expect your dog to respect and trust you. A good working relationship with your dog is built on trust and leadership. This is communicated to your dog by giving commands in a tone of voice that says, “I expect you to do this, no discussion.” Then move in a steady, yet gentle way to convey leadership.

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Never re-command your dog. If your dog knows what the word means, re-commanding him just teaches your dog that a) he does not have to listen to you; b)he can do it when he wants and c)you are not the leader. For every command there should be an action. Either you coax the dog into doing what you want or the dog does it. If your dog does not know the “sit” command, and you tell your dog, “Sit . . . Sit . . . SIT!”, then make the dog sit on the third sit, your dog will learn not to sit until the third command. He will think that the command is “sitsitsit.”

Most people repeat commands to their dog’s because they are being polite (according to human standards) and assume that the dog did not hear the first or second time. I can assure you that if your dog does not respond the fist time, and does not acknowledge you, he DOES HEAR you. He is just IGNORING you. Therefore, politeness to a dog translates into “My owner is wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Why should I listen?”

So, speak clearly and in a direct manner to your dog. For every command expect or initiate an action. Do not repeat commands. Do not hesitate when you move. Show your dog that you are a leader, not a follower.