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Can I teach my dog to find me?

This page is for KIDS ONLY!

I'll bet your dog is really a joy! It is amazing the natural ability that canines have for sniffing things out! Truly they are a wondrous thing to watch. Many dogs love to dig around in the water, some find rocks thrown by their owners into the water and actually dive under and retrieve the very same rock with the owners scent on it!

You can teach your dog lots of scenting games and it will be fun for just about anyone in your family. Try this with your dog. You rub a stick in your hands, put the stick among other sticks that look almost the same. Ask your dog to get the stick. When he picks up the stick with your scent on it praise him/her and give lots of pets and hugs. After practice your dog will go right to the stick with your scent on it.

Sure you can teach your dog to find you in your yard or at home. Your dog must be VERY friendly, not afraid of you or strangers in order to play this game safely. Don't play this game if your dog nips at the legs of people running by it or if your dog is scared in anyway. Have an adult supervise the game at first, and read these instructions to you so that you know you are getting it right.

Teaching your dog to find you starts with a hide and seek game. A person who is familiar or a friend of the dog holds your dog still (gently) while you run away, a very short distance, holding your dog's favorite toy or treat. Before you run, you show the toy or treat to the dog, calls its name and runs away from the dog, all the while calling the dog's name and jumping up and down enthusiastically. You hide behind a tree or the couch if you are playing inside.

The person holding the dog says to the dog "find-em" and then releases your dog. The dog is excited and runs to find you. As soon as the dog gets to you the dog gets its favorite toy or treat and it has learned that fun things happen when it finds people. After your dog is used to finding you, you can show it how it can find others too, by playing the same game while you hold the dog still and your friend runs and hides.

Don't play these games in the woods.

Only play this hide and seek game with your dog around your yard or house or at the school or park where you will not get lost FOR REAL. Even though your dog has learned this fun game, he may not find you if you are really lost. Search dogs train for 2 years to be able to find people in lots of different situations. Being lost for real is not a game.

Play safe and HAVE FUN!!

These kids want to tell you what it is like to live with search dogs and their handlers. They know about it because their mom, dad or other family member is a search dog handler. It can be very fun to have a search dog in your house. But, other times they can be pesky dogs that like to play all the time, and hiding for your dog can get old after you have done it for a very long time.

Its really fun when you get to play with the search dog when it is a puppy. As the dog grows up you can play fun games with it. You can even help your parent to train the dog by hiding for them. When you are real young, like Nathan is, your dog can be as close to you as a brother or sister. Nathan's canine big brother watches over him while he sleeps. "Nathan feels really comfortable around his friend, Eiger, and he always has someone to play with.", says Nathan's dad, Mark.

Some kids say that the problem with having a search dog in your home is that It can get boring. It can get tiring when you are asked to hide all the time or if you have to wait in the car while the dogs and handlers do dog problems. Sometimes you can hide for a hour or more while the dogs search for you.

"Whenever I say I am bored my mom says 'Want to go hide for me and the dogs?' I didn't mean I was that bored!", say Brice, son of a search dog handler. The search dogs are part of the family first before they are search dogs, so everyone in the family gets to pitch in and help.

"Our dogs are not the kind of dogs that just want to curl up and go to sleep on your feet. Oh no, they have to be playing fetch or something else all the time. They are always busy!", says Cassie, who's mother trains two search dogs. "And you will have more pictures of your dogs than you have of says its because they hold still and I don't".

"When we take camping, hiking or travel trips, you can be sure the dogs will come too. I don't mind anymore. When we do leave them at home for some strange reason, I keep looking around for our dogs and I really miss them." , says Cassie.

"When I was little my mom and dad would take me on trips for a dog workout weekend. Me and my brother kept ourselves busy, but boy did we get tired of waiting sometimes." says Garrett, who's mom and dad were search dog handlers when he was growing up.

Generally, the kids of search dog handlers say they like it when they know their dogs helped to find a lost person, and they sure love having them around everyday because they are really great dogs.

Having a search dog in your house means lots of work and commitment and your parents will do silly things to make their dogs work for them. You have to watch grown-ups make googol faces at the dogs and you have to hide in strange spots so that a dog can find you. "But we think it is worth it!", all of the kids agree.