Hi everyone, Lottie here again with an update on how my training is going!

After the last blog I have been away every month, visiting different areas of the country, including Yorkshire, South Wales and the Pennines and have just got back from the first training weekend of the year in the Lake District.

I am now in the Stage 1 training group, having passed my registration/obedience and stock tests towards the end of last year. Stage 1 is where the new challenges really start coming thick and fast.

The training now takes place out on the fells, in all weathers, and is built around having the drive and focus to find and play with the ‘dogsbodies’. The whole process is aimed at developing what is termed the ‘Indication’, which is when I get to the body and really bark at them before having a good energetic play! Training at the moment takes the form of the ‘dogsbody’ taking my favourite toy and running off at ever-increasing distances, hiding and then me being let off my lead to run to them, bark and get my toy.

By building up the distance and then adding in hiding the ‘dogsbodies’ in camouflage bags, SARDA (Search and Rescue Dogs Association) have started me on the path to developing proper search skills. The idea is also that this training is always done into the wind if possible so that I begin to link the finding of the ‘dogsbody’ with the scent. This will serve me well when I get on to searching larger areas in later stages of training.

Over the next few months this training will build and build until I am ready to begin to add in the ‘Return Sequence’ which is when, instead of stopping and barking at the ‘dogsbody’ when I find them, I start to run back to Dad and tell him that I have found someone – I then get to play when he gets to the ‘dogsbody’ so I hope he will be fit enough to keep up!

As you can see from the photos, this weekend’s training took place on some steeper ground but luckily the rain held off! Sorry I am not looking at the camera but I was a bit distracted!

More information on SARDA, the dogs and their training can be found on the website at www.sardaengland.org.uk

Made up entirely of volunteers, the Exmoor Search and Rescue Team provides a Search and Rescue service across large parts of Devon and Somerset. The team assists the Police in locating lost or missing persons and recovering the injured or ill from remote locations as well as working closely with the Fire & Rescue Services and Ambulance Service in the area. Details on the team’s work and recent call-outs can be found on the web at www.exmoor-SRT.org.uk and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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