How are things going for Halo?
Things have been going well! We are going to leave here in a little while to go to Jacksonville for the weekend to train. Halo is still on the pile; we are getting better at finding one victim and we are still making the second victim very motivational. I tried to challenge her last week where I put two people on the pile and she found the first one fine, but the second one wasn’t as successful as I wanted, so I had to work on motivating her.
How do you motivate Halo to find person number two?
I give her more of a visual push, like waving her toy, getting her excited and focused on the person hiding in the tube. They will wave and call her name and bang on the door. Then I release her and when she’s on her way they will shut the lid (of the tube). As soon as she gets to that lid and puts her nose in the hole and starts to bark, she gets rewarded with her tug toy. As she progresses she’s going to know that there’s going to be more than one victim so she has to continue using her nose and weed out the audible and visual clues.
Has your training regime changed much?
Now that it’s winter and a bit cooler outside we have been doing much more training. I’m trying to vary it so we can travel and train in different places. This is our second trip to Jacksonville coming up and we were in New York recently, as well as Virginia Beach soon. It’s important because if there’s a disaster, she’s got to travel to get there. I need to make sure that she knows that when she’s travelling, she’s going to go on to rubble that’s unknown to her and she’s got to work. So I put her in as many situations as possible: on planes, in different climates, different areas.
And how is she doing at home?
She hasn’t grown up much! She considers my husband her playmate so she’s very different with him, and he lets her get away with a lot! But with me she’s a little bit better. She’s getting there, but she’ll be a puppy for around another year yet, with her tendencies.