Page 15 - Chiron Calling Spring 2021
P. 15

                 105 Sqn consolidated dog training month with Training Wing
 by Pte Samuel 105 MWD Sqn
Over a 4-week period between Jan and Feb 21, 105 Sqn participated in a consolidated
dog training month, which was run by the Regimental Training Team at St George’s Barracks. The purpose of the month was to learn new
dog training techniques from the Regiments most experienced dog trainers; in addition to getting advice on how to correct some of our dogs’ training issues.
During the first week we went
back to basics. Handlers of all classifications, including Vehicle Search (VS) and protection were taught simple techniques such as clicker/marker training. Spending time doing basic obedience with
our dogs can sometimes get overlooked on the regular training day. These exercises re-enforced the importance of simple tasks such
as getting your dog to heel whilst walking in between search areas. By mastering this, the rest of the search is a lot more stress free and the
dogs are more alert, reacting a lot quicker to the handler throughout. This week was also a good time for the training team to look at each dog and see which issues needed to be addressed in the coming weeks.
During this week I worked a
VS dog called Denzel who has a gaming problem. To combat this, I did some one-on-one work with Cpl Berresford, using his knowledge
of gun dog training techniques to regain Denzel’s focus when he is around distractions. Without his help, I wouldn’t have even thought
to try this, but it seemed to work for Denzel and built a good foundation for fixing this problem.
For the search dogs, this week was all about scent recognition and doing a few simple searches. Using the linear pots, each handler could see which target scents their dog needed to work on (or in Denzel’s case, I learnt how to stop bad habits creeping in, such as nudging the pot lids!) I was shown a few different techniques to prevent the licking/ nudging and how to enforce the pattern of searching on the linear pots and focus wall. I will take this forward with me as I am sure the same problem may arise in the future with other search dogs.
During this week I was paired with a brand-new VS dog, Hugo! Hugo is 2-year-old Sprocker who is FULL of energy. Due to a veterinary issue, Hugo had been part of the Training Wing ever since coming out the vets and it was unknown how
he could react in certain searches/ scenarios. I was a little apprehensive getting him as he had not been in a Sqn before, so had little experience in anything. Despite this on Hugo’s first search with me he searched
the white fleet vehicles on camp really nicely, and now I hate going anywhere without him!
The protection handlers had a very cold week out on the airfield training in the snow. Regardless, the dogs performed well as they trained in pick up and indication work. It was the perfect opportunity to see dogs work in different conditions and was a good confidence booster for the handlers to see their dogs successfully push through the cold and blustery weather.
During this week the snow came down hard and fast, nevertheless the dogs and handlers still carried on with their training. The search
handlers had a productive week conducting searches of HGVs, route and compound searches. We also made sure to maintain our obedience sessions throughout.
The final week of training took another hit due to the heavy snow that came in over the start of the week. When we could pick up training again, we used this time
to iron out any creases and gain
any last pieces of advice from the training team. My focus for the week was to work Hugo over scents that he struggled with on a search earlier on in the training month. We worked together to imprint a few new scents using the linear pots and focus wall. Unexpectedly I had to use the methods I had learnt previously with Denzel on pots, sooner than I thought. I felt happy that I could react quickly as I had more confidence of how to deal with this training issue.
The protection section was challenged to a competition in which they had to teach their dog something completely new by using the clicker or marker training which was taught at the beginning of the training month. Everyone got quite competitive and the results showed!
All in all, the whole month was productive with both the dogs and handlers learning at least one new thing. I found it helpful to learn different ways to teach the same thing.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID restrictions we were confined to camp however I felt the training team did a great job to utilise the facilities on camp. I look forward
to the next dog training month
and being able to learn some new techniques, hopefully in new areas.
 Chiron Calling / 13

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