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Week 3 - Perfecting the search

January 22nd 2016 | PC Richie Vinen

Week 3:

Sea Cadet Centre Swiftsure:

Day 9:

Started the week with a long progressive search through the sea cadets building looking for five hides, two of which were herbal cannabis and cannabis resin, which the dogs had not been imprinted on or introduced to before. All the dogs worked very hard and all understand what is required of them. They all located and indicated on both cannabis hides even though they had not been introduced to cannabis before. Amazing dogs and all handlers were extremely impressed and very happy. All teams were then tasked with an outdoor search around the building looking for two hides of cannabis. All the dogs are very good at what they are doing and sometimes it definitely seems like we are getting in the way, especially when your dog gives you “that look”. After all the nose knows!

Day 10:

Sea Cadet centre Woking:

Progressive search conducted by all teams through the very lovely building belonging to the sea cadets at Woking, three hides to be located throughout the building. All teams are getting stronger and more confident with every search and all hides successfully located and rewarded with a tennis ball. The hides at this venue were: Small amount of amphetamine hidden in the closed side of a large printer/photocopier, 15 MDMA tablets hidden in a closed draw at the bottom of a table and 2 bags of herbal cannabis hidden in a stack of draws in the corner of a classroom.

Outside search conducted in a good sized very busy storage area behind the centre. Two hides located one of which was hidden in the end of a trailer unit. The dogs worked well considering the low temperature and wind neither of which caused them much trouble. We then conducted another search in the garage area of the centre for cocaine and ketamine which all teams successfully completed.

During the afternoon we moved on to Stonebridge where we had a bit more fun putting the dogs through two different vehicle and let them bounce around inside looking for one hide in each vehicle. Even though the area is much smaller all of the dogs are very confident and understand what they are doing.

Day 11:

Kempton Park Race Course:

Fantastic venue for today’s training. Outside search of the grandstands next to the Royal Box, for two hides. This was planned as a 20 minute search over a large area with a small amount of breeze coming off of the race course. The searches are getting more tricky now as the instructor is doing his best to be distract the handlers and cause a nuisance of himself as this is something we will have to deal with on a live deployment when training is finished. Even with all the distractions all teams were successful in locating both hides, whilst outside Andy (Instructor) hid a used firearm nearby and each dog was imprinted and rewarded on locating the gun. The dogs now understand that they are looking for a strange/different scent and will investigate it, we then reward with a ball to confirm that is what we want them to find.

Second search of the day was of the large inside area at Kempton Park including the bar/café/tote/toilet and reception areas. On first seeing the search area it can look huge but the idea is to break it down and plan the search. Four hides located and indicated on by all teams. The search was running at around 29 minutes which was nearing the limits for TPD Meg. After a certain amount of time the dogs will have nasal fatigue and need to be rested before sending them back to search. I know that mini Meg can go to about 30 minutes then needs to stop, so at around 26 minutes I was watching her carefully. TPD Duke, Scout, Trooper and Jack are all a lot bigger than mini Meg and therefore have a bit more energy and do not tire as quickly.

Third search of the day was in the one of the upstairs rooms to confirm that the firearm was imprinted on all of the dogs. I think it took an average of about 30 seconds for the dogs to search the room and locate the gun which was hidden under a bin in the corner of the room. Fantastic days training at a truly awesome venue.

Day 12:

Godalming Army Cadet Centre:

Another great venue for training today. Andy put out two searches in two different areas of the centre. One was in the main building which included toilets, dorms, stairs and classrooms which had four hides put out and the other was a traditional type house used as a separate dorm which had two hides put out.

Again we have progressed as the house search was to be done alone without our instructor present so we were told to trust the dogs and reward when we thought they were on the hides. Really no need to worry as the dogs again know exactly what they are doing and found both hides and all gave lovely freeze indications on both hides. 2nd search was also very good and all teams worked well through the building and located all hides including a freshly fired firearm that had been hidden in the armoury area of the centre, which was surprising as you’d think in the armoury the dogs would potentially indicate on a number of items.

During the afternoon we headed back to Stonebridge and found two more available vehicle which the dogs were allowed to search. Hides were put out in both and all teams located he hides successfully. Each time the dogs are put in vehicles they are becoming more comfortable and are thoroughly searching everywhere that they can get to.

Fantastic weeks training again and looking forward to week four.

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