Screening Shelter Dogs and Career Changes with Katie Brennan from Search Dog Foundation (Part 1)

In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with Katie Brennan from Search Dog Foundation about sourcing shelter dogs for work. 

How do shelters know to reach out? ie, what do they see in the dog?

  1. Energy level
  2. Age
  3. Breed: lab, golden, aussie, border collie, mal/dutchie, gsd, + mixes
  4. Reaction to strange people and dogs
  5. What do they do with toys?
  6. Cleared by veterinarian team

How do you screen dogs?

  1. 6-10 foot pass between candidate dog and neutral dog or parallel walk.
  2. Remove dog from crate/kennel/car.
  3. Retrieves and possession.
  4. Field hunt
  5. Noise response/startle test.
  6. Rubble pile

Links Mentioned in the Episode: None

Where to find Katie: Website | Instagram Facebook

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Transcript (AI-Generated)

Kayla Fratt 0:09
Hello and welcome to the K9 Conservationists podcast, where we’re positively obsessed with conservation detection dogs. Join us every week to discuss detection, training, canine welfare, conservation, biology and everything in between. I’m Kayla Fratt, one of the cofounders of K9 Conservationists, where we trained dogs to detect data for land managers, researchers, agencies and NGOs. Today, I’m super excited for this topic. I’m excited every week, I need to figure out a better way to introduce these people. But we’re talking to Katie Brennan from the Search Dog Foundation about sourcing shelter dogs for detection work, and then career changes for dogs. So Katie is a certified professional dog trainer and a certified dog behavior consultant. She learned about search dogs while working as a trainer with the University of Pennsylvania’s working dog center. Katie has combined her knowledge of working with high drive dogs with her studies and experience and behavior modification and training in order to shape her teaching of agility, obedience and knows where classes she worked as a canine trainer for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in 2018. Before moving back to the Philadelphia area, as the as the canine recruitment, Outreach Manager, Katie works directly with individuals, shelters and rescues to evaluate potential dogs for conservation for the program, and also actively helps to clarify ideal candidate profiles. So you can all hear already exactly why we’re excited to talk to Katie. Katie, welcome to the podcast.

Katie Brennan 1:29
Hi, thank you so much for having me. Kayla, this is you know, my life’s passion. And I’m really excited to talk with you and everybody that might be listening.

Kayla Fratt 1:38
Okay, so Katie, why don’t we start out with I don’t actually know where this process begins. But the first question I have written down is how does a shelter know to reach out to you so we can take that from the outreach perspective of how does the shelter know that you exist? And know you may be interested in acquiring more dogs? And then, you know, the second half of that question is what are they generally looking at in the dog’s behavior or profile or whatever, that lets them know that this dog is potentially a good candidate and might need to reach out to you all?

Katie Brennan 2:11
Yeah, great question. So, you know, part of what we’re trying to do as an organization is to continually develop our relationships with organizations, other shelters, rescues, individuals, as we mentioned, and also some inbound career change potential opportunities, such as, you know, service candidates that aren’t going to make it through that type of programming, but my, you know, might not be making it through because they’re a little too high octane for that work, and might be good for us. So, you know, we recruit from all over the country, and we do it on the regular, we are always on the lookout for dogs, we have never said no to dogs coming in. And, you know, the hope is that we’ll never have to the need for these guys as great as you know. And we really want to help give these guys that need a home a chance at a great career that they’re gonna love. So kind of in working with individuals, as we see them on social media, which is huge for us. And then also just organizations we worked with in the past. For us, it’s really about just getting the messaging out there, building that relationship, and, you know, letting them know what we’re looking for. On the regular, we’re very lucky in that we have a great number of fabulous partners already that that exists to us and know us and we know them. And some of them may not have ever given us a dog, and that’s okay. It’s really about just that ongoing process. As our screenings potentially change, you know, things ebb and flow in the dog world all the time. You know, we always want to make sure to try and keep those partners up to date with any potential changes. And also to continually find new partners. It’s really in, you know, the more eyes the better at this point. For I think all of us that do detection work, and especially all of us that do detection work with shelter and rescue dogs. So the more we’ve got looking, the better the odds of finding that you know, needle in a haystack unicorn creature, but they are out there. So it’s really just spreading the word. We’ve been in this business for 25 years as a nonprofit, and, you know, we’re still going strong and still growing and hopefully, we’ll definitely continue that trend as the years pass. As we know, disasters are never ending, unfortunately, and you know, these guys are they’re needed. They’re, they’re wanted by FEMA teams and I You know, in handlers, so we just want to help, you know, make the difference in the lives of the dogs and also obviously in the lives of the handlers and potential victims as well. So yeah, I kind of mentioned Facebook, and other social media platforms have been really great for our outreach, we’re fortunate to have a pretty good presence on on all of that on a just Facebook and Instagram right now. But who knows what the future will bring. And, you know, it’s really we just, we’re just continually looking, we have a wonderful core group of volunteers that is looking for us, you know, looking for available dog postings from all over the country. Of course, my friends that from the dog world that might might not know searched dogs stuff, but no dogs. Yeah, also tag me regularly and send me postings and messages. And so it’s again, it’s just this feeling of community, you know, a bunch of people after a similar goal and just trying to help out, which is great, because as you know, sometimes algorithms are weird, and we don’t always see things

Kayla Fratt 6:12
totally well. And like, I know, I personally have, I use a newsfeed blocker on my Facebook. So I don’t see stuff when I log into Facebook, unless I take the time to go to a specific group. And that’s, that’s just because I have total like, poster brain like, I cannot be trusted with social media.

Understandable. algorithms work way too well, on my brain. So okay, so it sounds like actually most of your or maybe, maybe not most, but it’s not that necessarily a shelter is reaching out to you saying, Hey, we’ve got Huey here he needs, he needs a job. It’s more that they’re posting, hey, he’s a great HYDrive Malinois mix, you know, he’s looking for a really active home, and you’ve got, like, volunteers out in the interwebs, who are flagging that dog for you. Is that is that broadly accurate?

Katie Brennan 7:07
Yeah, absolutely. And then the beautiful thing about it is, even if you know, this dog doesn’t end up becoming a recruit for us, we still then get to communicate with the shelter, we still get to talk with them learn more about what they do their programming, we, you know, we want to know all about them, because we want to know, the best way to potentially help them screen these dogs, and find great placements for them. Again, you know, part of our mission is obviously, you know, most of our, our whole mission is to, you know, trained dogs for disaster search. However, there’s that small part of it too, that is really about helping those dogs, even if they’re not right for us find their way because as we know, these guys are not going to be the you know, walk a day hanging out, you know, at home type of creatures, they are going to go go go and potentially drive someone very crazy in the process. You know, if we can, if we can head it off, and you know, potentially help them find a great job, even, you know, with us or with another organization, or even help them find their perfect, you know, forever high activity type of home, you know, we’re gained to do it. And it’s just, you know, again, it’s, it’s, it takes a village to do all of this. And we recognize and acknowledge it and and want to help, you know, our shelter and rescue partners as much as we possibly can. Even if it might not be a ton of help at the moment, you know, even just a simple Hey, maybe check with this group, you know, could could yield dividends,

Kayla Fratt 8:47
right? So yeah, that’s a good, I love that the point you’re making kind of about the distinction in your mission, like, it sounds like you kind of have this tiered mission of like, you know, step the most, the number one main thing is getting these dogs that are ready to go to respond to disasters. But then second to that is, yeah, okay, what can we do to help these dogs who don’t have other places to go, and, you know, coming from the shelter world, myself, and it sounds like you’ve got quite a big bit of experience as well. And when I was at the Denver dump friends, like they get about 20 to 22,000 animals a year. So it’s a huge shelter system. And the reality is, even with those dogs that we did get out into working roles. It wasn’t that that particular dog you know, getting that particular dog out, like open up a massive amount of shelter space, or it’s not that it necessarily fixed the problem for the shelters, but it was that one dog that one really difficult placement that then alleviated kind of a disproportionate amount of pressure on the shelter because I can remember like God, there was this one who’s appointed lab mix named Freddy, and we he was in the shelter at the time that we We were piloting our nosework program for working with high arousal dogs. And he ended up going out into a bed bug detection field. And it wasn’t so much that we needed his kennel space, like we had hundreds of kennels in that shelter. Right. And it wasn’t that we had so many Fridays that we needed to, you know, constantly work with these working dog organizations. But getting him out alleviated like, an hour of staff time a day on the behavior team, because these particular dogs are so hard to keep in the shelter system. I mean, we’re talking specifically about the sorts of dogs that are just consistently failing in the shelter system, I do really poorly.

Katie Brennan 10:39
Exactly. No, that is that is totally correct. And I think I may have mentioned I’m a certified animal control officer. While I didn’t have a specific shelter I worked in in that role. You know, they’re obviously working with humane societies and shelters in the area. So you got to do that, that life a little bit too for sure. And yes, that’s exactly it. It’s, you know, thinking of, okay, now we have Max down the row, who is this one year old, you know, melanoma, who is spinning and barking and just FOMO, you know, out the wazoo, and instead of it beat him, like, kind of, you know, amping everybody else, you know, and then requiring all that time and energy, you know, it’s exactly like you said, it might not necessarily be for the space, but it’s it’s kind of the feel of that row the feel of the shelter itself.

Kayla Fratt 11:34
No, that’s a huge component of it is because it just takes one one dog in a row of kennels, to get everyone else been up. Oh my gosh. The times that we would have like a, like some Husky that would start a howl and then it would just be like, four hours of rolling 35 dogs to shut up because there’s one husky? Yeah, we keep picking on the breeds, you know, types exist for a reason I have

Katie Brennan 12:05
I have finished bits. They’re kinda like, us. I can, I can see. We’re good.

Kayla Fratt 12:10
Cute, too. So okay, so what are some of the things that people are seeing in these dogs that make you think okay, SDF needs to be looking at these dogs? Because I imagine, it may start with, you know, just the label of high energy or a specific breed type or whatever. But what are you? What are you looking for, in order to determine if this dog is worth a longer conversation? And what are the you know, both the green flags and the red flags, you know, because I know, also for you, and one of the reasons I respect your program so much, is it’s not just that you’re taking the worst, most difficult cases and figuring out how to make them into working dogs, you’re also screening them really carefully for a lot of other things.

Katie Brennan 12:57
Yeah, absolutely. So So really, it’s it’s like most other, you know, types of detection work, in terms of thinking about what they’re going to need to deal with on the job itself, and what that looks like, and, you know, for for disaster Search Dog. And I think, you know, most of your listeners are probably very dog savvy people. But I’ll kind of go into dive in a little bit deeper, just to make sure my explanations make sense. So, you know, when we’re thinking of disaster search response, we’re thinking of the collapse building, the earthquake, the hurricane, the flood, you know, you name it the manmade or natural disaster, and in that type of environment, as we can imagine, and some might know, from experience, you know, it is complete and utter chaos, right. So, there are not only, you know, teams with their dogs, but there is, you know, teams with excavation equipment and sonar, radar, potentially, boats and helicopters and quads. And, you know, it’s kind of you name it, it could be there. The other aspect of this too, is also what is left behind in the midst of a disaster. So obviously, the the, you know, thing we think about is the collapse, whatever itself, the rubble, the debris, but there’s also other things that we don’t necessarily think of such as, you know, obviously potential onlookers, victims that may not be hidden, so don’t require a search dog to find them but they’re still there. They’re going to be distressed, they could be injured. You know, they could be very injured. You know, children, people of all ages and sizes. You can also then have stray animals, stray dogs, stray cats, chickens, livestock, you know, the list goes on. And then also you can have trash you can have, you know, all sorts of stuff. So in thinking of what these guys are going to have to face, and also, they’re going to have to come out of the box ready to search after potentially traveling for hours upon hours, in who knows exactly what motor transportation. So it’s really about taking all of that into consideration, and coming up with those traits and characteristics that are going to kind of set these guys on the path for success in that type of setting. So yeah, the high energy is, you know, kind of number one, and there are many, many, many high energy type dogs in this world, as we know, to varying degrees. And then you know, really after that, in terms of other personality traits, we look for, well, we think of an age range. So for us, in particular, we have our age ranges, approximately one to two years old. The reason being, when our dogs are in training for their search, the rubble is our you know, one of the main places we do that work on on our site, we’re fortunate to have multiple rubble piles to choose from a varying levels of difficulty and other types of props, that simulate other disaster settings. So, you know, we need to make sure that the dogs and training are old enough, so physically, they can handle those potential challenges. And also, you know, mentally, we kind of know the type of dog we’re getting, they’re sort of done growing, in terms of mental state, and also in terms of physical state. And they’re also then young enough, once they graduate at maybe two or three years old, to then take the additional half year to a year to certify with them handler and become, you know, deployment ready with that particular handler. So the age range is pretty big for us. There are occasions a younger than a year dog might work. It just really depends on a lot of factors. And we don’t, you know, we always want to look at every case, you know, kind of individually because all dogs are individuals anyway, so it kind of worked out. You know, and so after that age, we think of breed for us. There are six main breeds that we focus on and there that’s because these breeds have historically shown to kind of have a lot of traits that make a good disaster search dogs. So for us, it’s labs and Goldens. Australian shepherds and Border Collies and then Malinois and, while Dutch shepherds and then German Shepherds, so I guess, seven technically. And we also, you know, do mixes of those breeds as well. So it doesn’t have to be a purebred dog to be in our program. We also do mixes too. So those two, the age and the breed are kind of like a perfect starting point.

Kayla Fratt 18:08
Yeah, and that’s, I like that as a starting point as well, because that’s the sort of thing that you can really easily get from that initial Petfinder posting that initial like that information is almost always going to be there, versus some of these other screening questions that I’m sure we’re about to get to where it’s getting to be a little bit trickier to define drive and arousal. And so yeah, what are you okay, so we’ve got okay, we’ve got a dog that’s high energy, it’s kind of the right breed or breed mix. It’s the right age. Now, I think. All right.

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Katie Brennan 18:40
So now we’re going to think about reactions to strange people and strange dogs. I think, based on what I’ve kind of said about a disaster type setting, I think we can all sort of see where this was going. So our dogs have to be people friendly, they just have to now they could be a type of dog that isn’t like a I will crawl into your skin cuddle me forever type of creature, but they have to enjoy being around people, they have to enjoy engaging with people. And, you know, they can’t be afraid of people. Even little kids, you know, we need to make sure you know, there’s a chance they might not have been exposed and that’s okay. It’s not unusual. But you know, we do need them to be fine with kids as well, because there will be the potential for children to be victims out there searching out. And, you know, in their homes with their handlers, the handler might have kids you know, and we always want to make sure that these guys are going to be safe and happy around children. So you know the people friendliness is huge. Another place that this really comes in, you know, into play is in our training program itself. So I Obviously, there are one person type of dogs, I have some of them, you know, they’re like kind of more like whatever towards others, but will happily take food from anybody and do all the tricks. But in the grand scheme of things, you know, if I’m leaving the room, they’re coming with me even if I’m not asking them to. And that’s, you know, not necessarily a bad thing. But the idea of them readily, being able to engage and be willing to engage with a stranger is huge. In our program, we have a kennel type setup. So while they’re in training with us, they get out obviously a ton during the day, or we’d have a whole kennel of FOMO dogs. Yeah, it’d be pretty wicked. So luckily, we’re good on that. But they have to be able to be handled by anybody that comes to their kennel or crates, depending on if they’re in the vehicle or in their kennel itself. So what that means is the person they’ve never met a potential handler candidate, you know, a new trainer coming into to work with us, or whatever the case may be, they need to be just fine with them coming up to their kennel wishing them up without it having to be a kind of production. Again, dogs are dogs and things happen, which is why we’re fortunate to have a fabulous, you know, behavior team that that is on site as well. But the ideal is that anybody could go up to that dogs kennel get them out. And then obviously what and they’re happy about that and fine, then obviously, once you show them the toy, they go, Oh, yes, let’s go, I’m ready. You know, yeah. The other reason this is important is, you know, anything could happen out on a deployment, we want to make sure that our dogs will potentially work with anybody, because you just never know, you never know. So that’s, you know, the people side friendly, is kind of where it’s at. Now with the dog side, so we say friendly with dogs, but we do have our fair share of friends that, you know, they’re more interested in engaging with their people, they just want to play the game with the toy, you know, they’re fine around dogs, that’s kind of the most important thing, they’re not overtly reactive, your full aggressive, they just might not want to do like social our, with a bunch of dogs. Yeah, and that’s totally cool. Obviously, they’re on a team with dogs. So they have to be fine, you know, in transport with other dogs and working around them in training, but then also, again, like I mentioned, on a deployment, they could have now dogs that aren’t on their team, that they’re not to, suddenly they’re working right alongside them. And they need to be okay with that. And obviously, I mentioned the potential for loose or stray animals. It happens. And it’s, it’s a real thing, and we need them to really just not worry about it. You know, and, and kind of do their job and not worry about another path that might be around them. Which hopefully that dog would be okay to lose in a disaster is definitely, definitely very tricky. But um, but you know,

Kayla Fratt 23:20
it sounds like potentially, say I had well okay, let’s actually let’s pick on barley, just because we talk all the time. So he’s, he’s my eight and a half year old working Border Collie.

He’s very neutral with other dogs. He’s never started a fight. And he’s never finished a fight. You know, like most dogs, who live with imperfect handlers, he has been in scuffles. But his one thing is, if you try to take a bone or food away from him, he would he’s struggled with that with other dogs, that this sort of thing, you know, he’s not going to, like, do the canine equivalent of pulling a knife out and running across Yeah, to stab someone. But he will, you know, say something? Yeah. Like, if you tried to take something out of his mouth, especially as a dog, you would argue with you over that. Right? It’s that sort of thing that yeah, that’s, that’s fine. You know, we can manage that we were professionals, or is that the sort of thing where even that level of like, resource guarding would be concerning?

Katie Brennan 24:24
Yeah, so great question. With resource guarding the way we kind of kind of frame it is resource guarding of any kind from a human No, no, no bueno. No dice. Now resource guarding from a dog in terms of kind of more natural communication like no, I don’t really want you to take this for me. Thanks. That’s okay. And obviously, the reason being we can really manage that a lot better than you know a person because it’s just life. There are going to be people everywhere potentially trying to you know, Get the dog to out a toy or whatever the case may be feeding on deployment, you know, could be wherever, whatever, you know, so we always need to make sure that that these guys are are okay with that, but kind of that natural communication with another dog of being like no thanks and not gonna happen. That’s okay. Okay kind of where we would end up drawing a line and obviously every dog is an individual and case by case so I will qualify with that. But you know, where we would draw the line is if there have been you know, bites you know, drawn blood bites on record. And that kind of goes just with our all encompassing we cannot accept dogs with a bite record anyway, towards another person or animal obviously missing a toy and yet getting your hand on a different story. You know, that’s, that’s okay. Or we had one one for poor pup who, poor guy he went to, he didn’t end up having, I think maybe his hunt drive wasn’t as strong, which we’ll get into. But, so there was another reason it didn’t, it didn’t work out for us. But I think he he went to meet someone at the shelter and he just like headbutted them out of pure joy and oiliness. And, and it was like, there was a like, it was like, she bit her lip, almost the person because it came right under that. So it’s like, there is like an incident on record type of deal. And you’re like, okay, but let’s unpack this and kind of see what this looks like to make sure it was like totally accidental, the dog meant nothing by it, you know, and in this case, that’s kind of the conclusion. We all based on other behavior notes and other observations of that dog.

Kayla Fratt 26:47
Totally. Yeah. So I’m thinking back to my shelter time, like, we had a couple of dogs who ended up and unfortunately, when we were in Colorado, 10 day by quarantines happen no matter what the intention was a couple of dogs that just missed a tug tool, I usually it was our fault for presenting it in a way. Exactly. With an untrained dog who doesn’t have a good strike, you know, like, right. I mean, this was well before I worked with working dogs, so my toy skills are a lot now.

But, and then the other and I wonder, because so these are this is where like your job and my job are a little bit different. Because I, you know, within the conservation program, I think we’re broadly okay with dogs that are dog reactive. Broadly speaking, that’s not a huge issue for us, like leash reactivity is just, unless you’re doing like zebra mussel work or like a lot of word work, it doesn’t have to be a problem for you, like, out of the wind farms or whatever, like, it’s just not a big deal. kind of varies a little bit from handler to handler, and then I can see potentially some bite situations that we may be okay with that you wouldn’t. I mean, for example, some of us are totally fine to dogs, such as hate kits, like that’s just not a big deal for us. Because as long as you have to do demos with or, or you don’t want to do demos at all, but then the other one that I can kind of imagine I’ll just make up a case to just, Oh, I’ll take a real case and then add some things. So back when I worked at the shelter, we had one dog who was in the b mod program, the behavior modification program, because he would grow when he was being handled, he had a lot of handling sensitivities. Actually, there’s two different dogs, I’ll bring both of them. And ultimately, it turned out one of the dogs had a horrific dental infection. And he had bitten the groomer. At some point when her fingers were in his mouth, trying to I think she was trying to trim around his beard or something like that. Okay, and he bit and then the other dog had not bitten yet. But ultimately, what we discovered was he had to do claw that had grown all the way around and back through his pad. Got it. So those are dogs were if they had bad records and checked all the other boxes, I would probably take those on, or those unknown go for SDF, and you would probably send them on to someone else? Or they would

Katie Brennan 29:03
they would, unfortunately, they would probably be a no go. Again, you know, very individual case total them for sure, which is fine. But I as a broad stroke, my gut reaction would be to say, probably not, yes. Which again, is a shame and actually, it’s, it’s, it’s cool that you bring up you know, groomers because one of the questions that you know, we always ask is, how are they for veterinary handling and grooming? Sometimes the answer is we don’t know and we won’t really get to know especially with grooming, it just might not really be a thing, which is fine. Other

Kayla Fratt 29:39
dogs have actually ever been to the groomer, they’re fine with grooming. I don’t know if that actually answers that doesn’t answer the same question.

Katie Brennan 29:46
Exactly. And then you know, in terms of veterinary care, you know, we do want to know how that goes. And most of the time, there will be some, you know, vet care happen, some guide or even if it’s just you know, you know routine shots are routine visits. And you know, we always want to know that because another aspect of this is, you know, these guys were out and about, they could get injured on a rubble pile, and suddenly they’re being carried and hoisted and bandaged and looked at, and blah, blah, blah. So we really need to try to kind of err on the side of they’re going to be okay with that. Now, the caveats, all of our dogs are muzzle trained. Part of the gear for our deployments includes a muzzle for every dog. So if there is an incident, that muzzle goes right on, just to make sure everybody is safe anyway, totally. And, you know, we practice all that, while they’re in training with us as well. And then cooperative care in general, it’s just, it’s not just for those dogs that need it, it’s for all of our dogs, we always want to make sure that they’re as comfortable as possible, you know, in our care in a veterinary sense. And then obviously, once they go home with their handlers, even if it’s not our handlers, as Search Dog Foundation, you know, trying to make sure that they’re comfortable is great. The other cool thing about it too, is by doing all of that work on the front end, and you know, being really kind of proactive about it, we can pass all that info on to any new owner be at a handler or another organization, or an individual that adopts one of our one of our lifetime care dogs. So it’s, you know, the more the merrier. Information anyway. And, you know, we we definitely like to make sure that it’s, if it’s a thing, let’s work on it, if it’s not a thing, cool, we’ll continue to make it not a type of deal. And our guys get seen, you know, once a month, not including any other specific things they might need, like X rays, or you to spay neuter, you know, or anything else that comes up that they might need medical attention on. So they’re around it a ton. So yeah, it’s just worth it to work on it from the get go for.

Kayla Fratt 32:03
Yeah, okay. So kind of going back. So we’ve got our energy, age, we’ve got our breed, we’ve got our reactions to strange people and dogs. It’s all this information you’re trying to get from? We’ll just call them the source. From now on, is that all that information that you’re trying to get from the source kind of before even bothering to get video on that? Absolutely. Yeah. What else would fall into that? Like, Okay, before we bother trying to do an assessment before we bother, you know, breaking up the video cameras? What else do we need to know?

Katie Brennan 32:35
Yeah, so we always would ask, then, I try to leave it open ended. So I kind of try and say, you know, what? The well, does the dog like toys? is an open ended? That’s a yes or no. But then after the fact is, what do they do with toys? Explain it to me, if you let them in a yard with a tennis ball? What does this look like? You let them in the yard with a stuffed toy? What does this look like? I want to kind of get the idea of what their drive might be before we see video, obviously, to hopefully save time. So we’re not pursuing, you know, a dog that has zero interest in toy. But it’s also to kind of get that idea for how we might need to adapt a screening potentially. So an example of that would be you know, we’ve got plenty of dogs that if you throw something they’re chasing it, you know, activating that prey drive. But then what happens, right, so does the dog actually pick up the item? Do they pick it up and then retrieve it back to you? Do they just want to hold it in their mouths and walk around happily like so that will dictate potentially, some of the instruction for the video screenings that we want to see? Obviously, if we have a dog that sounds like they love the toy they love to possess, they want to hold on to it either mentally or physically in their mouths or between their paws while they’re laying down or something. But they don’t have that natural retrieve. How can we work this? How can I better instruct an organization or individual to kind of go through this video process with them? The natural answer for that is is a two toy which I think most your listeners will know what that means. But But yeah, using a second toy, ideally the same toy that they love, you know, yeah, have a copy or two or three or four potentially. And you know, really entice them to bring the initial one back to you as close as possible. You know, we’re not they don’t have to bring it to your hand like it doesn’t have to be this beautiful crazy retrieval build that eventually way or about that yet. But it’s just that natural. Okay, you know, you’ve kind of activated that that pre Chase drive by the initial throw, and then do you still have interest or or do you just keep moving? Right. And I think by asking an organization or individual to kind of describe what their their interactions with toys looks like, it can help a little bit to already say maybe a Alright, let’s proceed or a flat out, probably not type of thing. And, you know, a lot of a lot of times this, this is the part that is challenging for organizations to kind of start with, because when they’re getting in an animal as Australian, or surrender, or whatever the case may be, you know, if they don’t know that the dog loves toys, they might not know that they might not ever know that. So it becomes this idea of it’s either just flat exposure, right? Just trying them. But again, how would someone know to do that, or it’s taking someone’s word for it, and owner, whatever, you know, if someone maybe picked them up as a stray, and notice they picked up a toy, you know, whatever, they can maybe relay that info. So so that is kind of kind of the the point where we really start to kind of dive into this. And obviously, once we’ve gotten those other things we’ve talked about, sort of out of the way we know temperamentally, they’re their sound. Another piece of that, which we didn’t quite touch on, but I will, sort of later on is this environmental piece, right being environmentally sound. Once we’ve kind of gone through those questions and, and flesh some of that out, then we can really start to just delve into this toy stuff. And really, you know what that means. One of the things that we you know, we say toy drive, but we all know in the dog world drive means something different to everybody, it’s, you know, what you see as HYDrive might not be what I see as hard drive, whenever you what, you know, a friend of mine who’s also a dog trainer ceases HYDrive. So, so it’s, it’s so you know, subjective, we really like to just kind of have the proof is in the exercise. So once we’ve established maybe how the sock might like to interact with toys, if they like to interact with toys in the first place, then we can start to think about okay, all right, how can we start to assess them? How can we help let them know? You know what to do? It’s not that we don’t want to explain the whys because we do because they’re important. But when staff and resource and time, time is a resource, right? And money, all of the things are so limited and potentially stretched. You know, we’re all just kind of about Alright, let’s just look at it, look at it for what it is. replicate these steps in this order in this fashion, send a video and let’s kind of go from there. So our first video and I don’t know, if you want me to get into specific videos or specific, let’s do that.

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Kayla Fratt 37:55
I did have I guess, do you do before video? Do you do any questioning as far as medical history? Is it kind of a broad like, hey, is there anything we need to know medically and then you deal with anything else later? Or like do you ask for like full hip X rays before you even bother? Yeah, great.

Katie Brennan 38:15
See, look, you’re you’re keeping me in line. All right. So medical, yes. So again, broad stroke is that the dog has to be healthy. Okay. So, um, you know, basically, they physically they have to be fine. They have to be you know, most of them are going to be high energy and while they’re all high energy, so they’re going to be pretty athletic anyway, potentially. You hopefully we’ve had, you know, it happens.

Kayla Fratt 38:43
Barley was 65 pounds when I got him. He’s now 45. Big Border Collie? Yeah, he was he was a chunker I think they were using food. He’s He’s also a consummate trash goblin. So like, it might not have been his owner’s fault, but they also may have just been keeping him chunky to slow him down, which I completely appreciate and

Katie Brennan 39:05
like, just like five pounds and make you run a little slower,

Kayla Fratt 39:10
Charlie, I just thought like 10% less energy.

Katie Brennan 39:14
That’s so great. I love it. Yeah, so So yeah, they might not be super athletic looking the shirt but you know, the idea of yes, they they can run without you know, they don’t come up lame after doing a little bit of stuff. And obviously in terms of, you know, basic stuff, we got to make sure you know, we got to know the heartworm status. So what does this look like here you know, tick borne stuff. We got to know is there a potential? We kind of you know, our, again, our broad stroke is no no, there can be no medical issues whatsoever. There are some things you no allergies. Well, what does that look like? You know, kid, it’s just something we can kind of deal with is it need to be on? Like, you know, bison instead of chicken like what, you know, what

Kayla Fratt 40:10
does this look like? Yeah, yeah. Because there’s so many things.

Katie Brennan 40:14
Yes, exactly. Those are things we can work with now of huge, full blown environmental allergy, like everywhere. Maybe not the best choice for this type of work just because, yeah, who knows where in the world, they’re going to end up. So you never want a dog coming out off a plane. And all of a sudden, like the, you know, after working for a couple hours having a problem. You know, again, things might not be known beforehand, we totally get it. But yeah, it’s pretty much healthy, we don’t require X rays from a dog from a shelter or rescue. Right off the bat. Now, there have been times where we are transported from Maine, to Southern California. So that’s pretty long, long journey and long excursion. So there have been times where we have, and we’ve we’ve covered this cost, we have asked for X rays ahead of time, just to make sure everything looks good. You know, before we put a dog on a plane, or you know, a huge ground transport excursion, you know, to come out to the site. So, again, a little bit individual for that, but we never would would make a shelter or rescue pay for that. That’s something that we can cover. And that really comes after all of the screening videos have been completed. And we say yes, we are super interested in this candidate, we would love to bring them out. And then as an you know, kind of in addition to our normal medical stuff, you know, health cert crossing state lines got to have that, you know, basic vaccination info, fecal for dx, heartworm testing, all that kind of stuff. You know, really, the basics are kind of what we require. And then like I said, maybe x rays might come before they get out to us, or they might just come afterwards, when they’re out. And they’ve kind of proven that performance wise, you know, they’re going to be a strong candidate for

Kayla Fratt 42:10
Yeah, and it’s worth putting the expense in. So exactly, I can imagine I’ve seen you know, I’ve seen videos up on like rescue, so the rescue or like adoptable, sporting performance dogs, and you know, all these Facebook groups that we both spent a lot of time in, oh, yeah. I’ve seen something where I’ve been like, ah, that dogs back looks a little weird, or like their rear end moves in a weird way. And like, so in those cases, you might or, or if it’s a huge geographic distance you might bother. But otherwise, it’s kind of like, Yeah, we’re gonna see how they do in the first initial bits of training.

Katie Brennan 42:42
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Cool. Just to, it’s, again, it’s our goal is to make the organization or individuals job a little easier. We, we fully understand and recognize that we do require a lot, you know, we just do. It’s the nature of our program. It’s the nature of the dogs that that we need to find. But that being said, you know, we always do try to, to make it a little bit less, whenever possible, for sure, because we understand it’s a lot of time, energy makes sense.

Kayla Fratt 43:20
Listen, you and your dog are already canine conservationists by listening to the show. So go ahead and show it off. Join the club, check out our brand new merch store, which is located at It’s stocked with stickers and magnets and bags and shirts, we’re adding new designs all the time. If you’re an artist wanting to collaborate, just we split profits and are eager to hear from us reach out at [email protected]. We also offer all of our webinars on demand through our store. So you can check out our puppy raising webinar alerts and changes of behavior, introducing a target odor, as well as seeking sourcing and alerting. We’re also planning to add new webinars to this all the time. So if you’ve got a request for a webinar, or you’re a practitioner hoping to contribute a webinar, again, we’re going to split our profits with you and you can reach out to us at [email protected] Let’s keep the learning going. Okay, so now that now we can go into the videos. Yeah, so what do we solicit on like our first video like Alright, first bit, what do we want to see out of our dog?

Katie Brennan 44:21
All right, so kind of the initial video so these are going to be the ones that you know, the first three on our listing are going to be a dog reaction, a stranger reaction, and retrieve them possession. So I’ll kind of one by one pick them apart quickly but still picking them apart. Really so. So dog reaction. So for this, it’s really all about just their initial reaction to is strange, neutral dog. Neutral is the caveat. We don’t need a dog screaming at this friend. Try to assess them. Yeah. Um, and we just want to see what that looks like it’s done on leash, you know, it can be done in a couple of ways. It could be either like think your, your Canine Good Citizen tests of a little dog dog walk by without the sit and handshake in the middle, which is, you know, thing, just a straight pass by, at, you know, a good six to eight foot distance 10 even, we don’t, we don’t care, they don’t need to say hi, unless someone wants them to really badly. Or it can be just a parallel walk, you know, up down a parking lot, you know, between two yards, I don’t care. It’s just a matter of again, that initial reaction to a strange but neutral dog. Obviously, we have some dogs that are really into other dogs and really want to say hi, but again, it’s that idea of, of just being able to see that clear body language difference between I really pumped and your dog to, like, I’m gonna get you before you come get me. Okay, you know? Yeah, and I think we, we kind of all kind of know what that looks like. To a degree this this degrees, you know, but it’s, it’s pretty rare that we would need to ask for multiple videos with that type of exercise. We do have some people that, you know, the dog does great and playgroups and you know, all that. And we enjoy that footage as well, the more the merrier. But the on leash reaction that that piece, the on leash piece is, is just huge for us. Again, I mentioned, you know, we have a kennel type environment for training, even on a deployment, you know, these these guys are working out of their out of their crates, on vehicles or whatever. So you know, there can’t be you know, barrier fresh, you know, we get it fomos Israel, we get it. But you know, there can’t be that barrier aggression, super frustration while people are working, and dogs are working. So, you know, we kind of have to really find that, that dog that’s either just going to be friendly, or again, just kind of ignore, or a little bit in between, for sure. So in terms of a stranger reaction, the best way that we do this is getting the dog out of their kennel. That’s it. So yeah, so we have a stranger we, we kind of, we have like a soft require of a stranger because we do understand, especially the past couple years, that you know, it’s sometimes challenging to get a strange stranger into your, you know, your shelter, just depending on COVID protocols and what’s going on. So even if it’s just someone that they’ve, you know, interacted with, like once or you know, but we really, we love, we love a stranger love it. And it’s again, this idea of they can walk up to the dogs kennel or crate, you know, if they’re in a crate, whatever doesn’t matter. And that would be kind of maybe your rescue or like a dog in a foster home. You know, going up to a crate going up to I’ve had people do cars, like they just have the dog in the car person goes to the car opens the door gets the dog out, you know, we just want to see that there’s no problem. Even if the dog isn’t again, I’m going to crawl into your skin friendly. That’s okay. Once you see it, there’s no issue with that happening. So after those that we have our retrieves in possession, and I mean, I am I am a believer that this test really can show a lot about a dog and their their desire to play with toys. So this one is twofold. Obviously retrieves we all know what that means. So a little fetch game. And this is where that idea of you know, is it a no take only Thoreau type of dog? What does this look like? What is their natural inclination? You know, we do need the dog to do more than just chase it out. We need them to like pick it up, at least a little bit. If they drop it halfway back, you know, it’s okay. Sure. So you know, whatever kind of means to get them to come back to either spit that initial toy back out at you for for it to be thrown again, or to use a second like toy to get them to drop the first so you can throw that second toy, kind of whatever means necessary for that. So after four or five throws, so full up and back, you know this dog, we want to see them run, we want to see them chase, we want to see that that intensity, and also that kind of, you know, fire that ignites when the toy comes to you for the first time, right? Like we want to see. All right, we want to see all of that. And after you’ve done the retrieves portion, then obviously the possession is next. And for that it would be so on your fifth throw, or six throw a few whose count like I do all the time. I don’t know why it’s so hard to count to five but it really really is challenging when you’re trying to play fetch with a dog. It’s because you stare at them. You’re like Wow, you’re so You’d have to wait, what number in mind? Who are you, so on whatever throw, you’re on five or six, you know, whatever, you’re gonna throw that toy out one more time, and you basically then ignore the dog for a full minute, everybody in the vicinity ignores the dog, there should be no other toys on the ground. You know, they should just be able to do what they want with that toy that was just thrown, what we want to see is that they maintain some sort of possession either mental, so say they’re the type of dog that you know, brings it back towards you drops it and it’s just staring at it staring at you staring at it, you know, trying to will it to move, whether it moves on? I am I have, hey, you forget I have one too. So yes, I’m describing them, they’re willing it to move. They might be barking in the process or screaming at you know, we love that too. They might also you know, decide they just want to take it in the little mouse and carry it around and parade with it. We like that. We like them laying down with it either in between their paws on the ground and their mouth. And all sorts of various combinations. You know, we’ve had dogs that shocker of all shockers one that I can think of right off the bat, who was hilarious was a Labrador Wow, I’m surprised. And he was just like, this is the best day of my whole life. And you got me a ball. And I’m gonna go to every single person who is in this vicinity. And I’m going to jump at you so hard that it almost knocks you over. But the ball so my mouth, please, can you play with it? Please? Can we do it we’ve, like literally begging like, and like, like, just nonstop, like, this is what I’m doing. We love that too. You know, so it’s possession can take all forms, as you know. And so it’s really, you know, we can work with any of them. So we just want to see that they need the toy, in some capacity. They need it. So it’s not just all right, I chased it out. Cave gonna go over here now, you know, and NIF something else on the ground. The other cool caveat to this test, this is the only one that we full on requires as much as we can require it, but we full on require that it takes place in a new location to the dog. The reason being is that aha moment when the toy gets pulled out, we want to see that we want to see that reaction. We just want to see them go oh, we’re gonna play? Oh my gosh, what’s happening? This is the best, right? Yeah, um, and obviously, you know, dogs do different things in different locations, they’re at home, they’re gonna act differently than maybe when they’re out and about, we want the dogs that kind of acts the same no matter where they are, and especially in relation to their toy play. Yeah. And possessiveness, we just want to see that it is there it is, it is high, you know, almost importance to this dog. And if they get their toy. And, you know, what we’ve done in the past, a lot of people will do, you know, kind of long line in a field, you know, sit that line on a harness, kind of whatever works for them. We’ve also, you know, it can be indoors, we don’t care. It’s just a matter of do you have a conference room? Has the dog been in the conference room before? You know, what does this look like? Because we, you know, we’ve even had some I think they were in more quiet kennel rows, I hope because it seems not too bad. But we’ve had them in kennel rows, you know, like with dogs, like watch. And we’re like, Alright, hey, they’re doing the thing. They’re not they don’t care about the dogs, the dogs, you know, some of them would care but but you know, and it’s all they’re just all about that toy, even in the possession part they’re not dropping it to say hi, they are waiting for the waiting for the engagement from the handler to make the toy move. And you know, in that regard, we we do feel that it’s it’s so important to capture that in a new location. Because that is their reality when they get on a on a you know, deployment site.

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They’re they’re getting the toy that we need them to want it no matter what a pm Night Day, they’re like yes, let’s go so that’s you know, that’s why I love that test. And I think you know, putting it in that package with the initial dog and stranger reaction really gives us this nice kind of full breadth of the dog that we’re getting continue working with in screening so yeah, so those are kind of our like, those are like the big three now, I’ll keep going into more so yeah, you know, great. So after we get through those three and there are some times depending on you know, kind of if there’s been any more footage on the dogs say a shelter or rescue has already put Sit some footage of the dog on social media and he gets to see them already, you know, retrieving or whatever the case may be. If they’re already seems like there’s a pretty strong chance that those first three tests are going to be no problem, then we might actually send kind of the full list of all of the things we need to see, it really just kind of depends. But those first three are the are the main initial ones. So then the next ones we go to, are going to be our field hunt, which is, you know, the, the epitome of detection being, right, yeah, so we want to see that. Obviously, not only do they have a prey drive, and they have possessiveness of a toy, but that when that goes away, visually, the dog still wants to find it. We want to see that they know to turn on that knows immediately to look for it in that way. And we kind of want to see to to degree that they don’t really care what’s what’s in their path. Just gonna go for it. They’re like, No, no, this is my task. This is my focus. Now for this one, obviously, an open like a field of tall grass is like the epitome of greatness field, hot field, tall grass, perfect. However, we fully recognize that is not possible or probable for some places and organizations. So we get it, you know, throughout any of these tests, safety of dog and people, anywhere nearby is is our number one priority. So I mentioned for the retrieves and possession long lines, love them perfection. harnesses are cool, too. So there’s not an accidental snag on a long line, right? So yeah, no bueno close lining yourself friend. So we always want to make sure that whatever happens, whatever we’re trying to test, everybody is safe. So thinking of more about this setup, so are you got your doll, you’ve got maybe a long line, you’ve got a beautiful field. So all those things are in place, and we love them. So what if you don’t have all those, we have a lot of, well, we know there are a lot of shelters or a lot of rescues, organizations that are centered around big cities, you know, they’re, they’re totally urban, There’s just nowhere to go. If you take them to a park, there’s going to be like 30 other dogs around, you know, and not to say that we need it to be completely isolated and sterile. But you know, we want to set them up to really succeed, and to kind of see what they can do. You know, without the need for too many distractions, the environment itself is a distraction enough, you know, we don’t need dogs and people and potential other toys being thrown around or played with, to kind of mess with that, right, that’ll come later. We’ll get back going later on. So So really what we what we aim to do, and this is when this kind of relationship building with an organization really comes into play, because if we know they’re in an area that is concrete, frankly, is concrete, maybe some artificial turf, you know, how in the world are we going to do a field hunt? What is this going to look like? So what we’ve been able to, to do is give these these organizations and individuals the option to do a like it’s a field hunt, we call it a field hunt, but it’s more like a stuff. It’s like a stuff hunt. Okay, what that looks like is really just whatever space you’ve got, be it indoor, like conference, room setting, play yard kind of whatever. You know, we just have people scatter stuff around. Now, it does require a good amount of stuff. You know, we don’t want to have one object out there and the dogs and be like, Well, it’s obviously behind that object, you know, we want to we want to make it so visually, it’s too confusing for the dog to track, right. So once that toy is thrown, or thrown and kind of lightly placed, I’ll go into those specifics later on. We want to make sure that it’s going to be there’s gonna be enough stuff in the way that the dog is going to be able to do that. But yeah, but yeah, the obvious option is behind this right. So we’re talking a good amount of things, but you can do things like very kennels baby pools upside down or right set up I don’t really care either random objects pallets if you’ve got them. There’s so many it’s literally grab random things and just put them out fold up some tables, you know, like put them out so it’s safe ish, you know, slippery table but still safe ish. You have some chairs out there like go nuts go to town. And then what we want to do Um, is is, you know, make sure that we’ve got the amount, the right amount of people to help with this test. This particular one is it’s pretty people heavy. And the reason being we need someone to hold this creature who is probably going to be really amped up that there’s play thing happening, especially if they’ve already gotten to your retrieves and possession like that day, and they’re already like, oh my god, I forgot to write, like we’ve already started, it’s already gonna be like, yes. So we got someone to hold this creature back, okay? Regardless, if you’re doing the field portion, or this, like stuff hunts portion, we’ve got some of the video because we need that you can tripod any of this, obviously, but we know it’s, it’s weird and challenging. And inevitably, the dogs gonna go out of frame, we’re just going to, it just happens. That person who is videoing is also acting as your timer on this, and I will explain why. So they have multiple roles to play. And then we’re gonna have to have somebody that’s out there, I mean, you might need two more people, right, but at least one more person to either catch this toy once the person holding this excited creature throws it, or you might have someone just throwing it to this person that’s out in the field, you know, now, and see where I’m going with this. So in a field itself, this tall grass field, you can probably just chuck it, you might not need too many extra hands. But when you’re doing this stuff hunts where there is potential for it to bounce off of something or make a weird path, especially if you’re using a tennis ball or check it, or any bouncy kind of object. You know, again, the idea is to hide it, we don’t want it to be a blind hide, we want to see the toy thrown, we want to see it as, as you know, a group watching these videos. And we also want the dog to see it. We don’t need it to be blind, don’t worry about it. We work that later on no problem. But we want to again, we want to bring up that prey, we also want to bring up the frustration. And what that turns into is barking whining. In the case of some of our maybe a hurdy friends or some of our lobby golden friends who have some field genetics in there. It might be that still intensity of like the statue, and they’re like barely breathing. And you’re like, oh my gosh, what is wrong with you know, like that, like kind of shaking? In anticipation? We want to see that. And the best way to see it is to throw it right? Yeah, you’re throwing it and holding them back. And they’re going like, oh my gosh, you know, we want it we want to see it all. So once you as the handler, or a person sitting next to you has thrown this either into this vast field of tall grasses or into the stuff area. With the stuff area you might have, again, that person that’s kind of like catching it, and then sort of tossing it sort of so it’s like it changes hands a couple of times. Yeah, but

Kayla Fratt 1:03:02
seeing it move somewhere. And yes, exactly.

Katie Brennan 1:03:06
Mm hmm. So it’s the idea of we want the placement of this toy to not be first of all impossible to get, right, we do want the dog to get it. We don’t want to get stuck in a hole somewhere and have the dog you know, if it happens, it happens, we get it. But ideally, they’d be able to actually get the item. So having this other person will help. And also to if it’s just a bad throw goodness knows I can offer for the life of the it’s very exciting how many like cafes, I’ve lost to the world. I don’t know where they end up. But here we are. And you know, in some places, it’s always places we don’t want dogs to go like and a bunch of poison oak or like, a pitch somewhere and you’re like, we’re just gonna add like this never happened. And later on, inevitably, someone will find it. So it’s fine, because they go down there anyway. But if we tell them no, but you know, so so we get it. If there’s a bad throw, having that extra set of hands might be a little helpful to sort of place this. And obviously, it’s not a ginger place. It’s not like hello here, dog, I’m giving you the answer. It’s a like, Alright, I’m in this location. You’ve taught it to me, I’m gonna sort of then toss it back a little further here. Make sure it lands behind something out of sight of the dog. So, so yeah, so that’s a lot of info about this setup, right?

Kayla Fratt 1:04:23
It’s important. It’s very

Katie Brennan 1:04:25
Yes, it is very important. And the other part of this too is, like I mentioned there are there’s a timing element. So that’s going to be with our delays. So how this ends up working out, you’ve got your people, you’ve got someone timing things, you’re like you’re ready to go. So what happens is person records handler holds Zog a toy gets thrown and then lightly thrown again for replacement or what have you. Then we’re going to start with an immediate release. We still want because again, there are dogs and they’re smart and some of them have that beautiful field genetics in their little brain, we want them to be even more disoriented. So we do a spin before release. So harnesses, again are really great for this exercise, even if you might not need a long line, cuz then it’s easier to spin the dog kind of maybe pick them up and make us better. Otherwise, it’s potentially challenging with a with a collar, but that’s okay, we we’ve done that, too. So you want to spin them completely around and then let them go, that’s your immediate release. Again, what we want to see is the dog goes, I can’t visually find this toy item. I really want to find it though. I have to use my nose. That’s what you’re gonna see that this, this process has changed from the visual to the older stuff happens, like no problem super quick, they get it. And it happens naturally. Right? Yeah, they don’t need to join. They don’t need people saying go find it, go get it, you know, people say it anyway, because we’re so excited. But they don’t need it. They they like know what to do, they already know they were born with it. And so we want to see that they do that. Now, the the next one, after we’ve done an immediate release, this is when your time or videographer is really going to start having to work. The next one we do is a 15 second delay. So now this is where we’re really going to start to see some frustration, we’re going to maybe hear some vocalizing see that again, that’s still statue, like, but shaking kind of kind of dog. So that’s where we start to see it. So you’re gonna do throw the thing, you know, thing is in the world, in this field environments, our timer, once it is thrown, or once it is like lands or is you know, lightly toss into position is going to start a 15 second countdown, not out loud, they can do it quietly, or they can do it a lot, I don’t really care. And then at the time that that is up, they say spin our handlers then spin the dog again and send them into the search area. So again, we want to see the same thing we want to see that they turn on that knows are probably going to really know to do that very quickly. Now they’ve already learned the game and won one try, which is what we look for. And, you know, we want to see that they’re gonna keep looking, keep looking, keep looking, keep looking at tenacity. The next step is a full minute. And this is the longest minute so the possession minutes pretty long, too. But this minute feels like it is the longest minute ever in existence. It is. It feels like three weeks and you’re like what is happening? You’re looking at your time Are you like, Dude, are we done? Can we go and they’re like, oh, like 30 seconds you’re like, so again, your timer is nice and important. The toy lands, they start that minute countdown, while videography this dog going nuts. We want to see the frustration has grown through just doing two reps before this, right? That tells us a ton. Okay, so can the dog still then search for the toy After that minute and not be as intense as we need? Absolutely. But we want to see that they are like, mad. They’re mad at this point. They’re like, this is ridiculous. What is wrong with you people you do not know how to play this game. Really? Like literally they’re like, Why do you keep losing this? Okay.

Kayla Fratt 1:08:37
Let me go get it right away.

Katie Brennan 1:08:39
Yeah, like I let me help you Okay, guys. And again. So it’s that full minute countdown, the timer says spin the timer person says spin handler spins the dog in a circle. Let’s go. So, again, I mentioned this buildup of frustration. The anger continues to grow with each repetition. That in turn, we want to see also kind of add to building up that hunt intensity and obsession. We want to see that that we describe it as desperate, desperate to find their toy item. Now, couple questions on any of these repetitions. What if the dog doesn’t find it, we still want to see them work. We want to see them work for you know, you know you, if it’s like 100 degrees out, you know, you might say like, they’ve been looking for a minute and a half. Alright, let’s like let him Let him brief, you know. So there’s some factors that come into play there, but we really want to see them looking pretty hard. If they find them too quickly, we might actually ask you to redo them and make them harder because what we need to see is that it could have been like the perfect you know, the perfect weather, the perfect temperature, the perfect XYZ and you know, the dog just worked really quickly and appropriately and found it super fast. And we totally get that and Avi just really appreciate it because in the grand scheme of life, that’s what we train for anyway, however, there is that side of we do need to see that even if they can’t get to it right away, they will continue to work no matter what. And obviously, it’s, it’s, again, this idea of, you know, they’re out in the field, they’re doing their hands, and they’re like, oh, there’s a smell here. Oh, what was I doing? Okay, let me go back, they don’t really want to see that we want to see the work. That is, that is a pretty subtle thing. And sometimes on video, especially if you’re angled a certain way, you know, like, you can’t always tell. So, you know, the longer hunts for us the better. So that way, we can kind of make those, those calls without having get like a ton of reps and a ton of time, you know, an effort on the part of the individual organization. But again, that’s, it’s very hard. It’s hard.

Kayla Fratt 1:10:58
All right, we’re gonna wrap it up here. We’re going to come back next week to talk more about the why of some of these Search Dog tests and dealing a little bit more with career change dogs, lifetime placement for dogs, all of that good stuff. So Katie, thank you so much for coming on. For everyone at home. Make sure to get outside be a canine conservationist in whatever way suits your passions and skill set. You can join Patreon, find transcripts, show notes, merch, all that good stuff all over at We’ll be back next week.

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