XX Litter 53 Days Old SAR Test

XX Litter Search & Rescue Test
The XX Litter was tested at 53 Days
Whelped 7/11/22:  1 black and tan male

Mr. X is going to North Carolina to do Schutzhund and search for invasive plants.

My Search & Rescue friend, Bonnie, came from Bozeman to test the pups for Search & Rescue (and other working) potential.  She tests most of my litters and I greatly appreciate it.  Bonnie is a SAR dog handler and trainer.  The SAR test scores from 10 – 1, 10 being the highest; 1 the lowest.  They also use 10-9, 9.5 and 9-8 as scores.

The main difference I see between the police/narcotics test and the SAR test is the attitude of the tester.  In the police test, the tester is very quiet, talking little and using very little body movements.  No other people are present and the environment is kept quiet.  In the SAR test, the tester (often two do the test together) is somewhat more enthusiastic, uses some verbal praise and body movements to get the pup “up” and gives praise.  Other people are sometimes present to watch, though they are asked to be as quiet as possible.  This would fit well with the ultimate purpose of the dogs being tested for both types of training.  In police work the dog must be able to dig down deep inside himself or herself to find the courage and aggression to confront a criminal and/or to search independently and at great distance from the handler.  In SAR the handler is usually closer to the dog and is able to praise and encourage him, especially in extended searches.  There is also generally all kinds of activity and distraction at a search scene so the dog must be able to filter out the extraneous activity and focus on her job.  Both tests are fascinating to watch as is the difference in the pups’ responses in each test.

Because Mr. X had an ongoing interaction with the battery-operated mouse (introduced in the Reaction to Strange Objects test) that continued in the photos of other tests, I am listing the tests in the order Bonnie did them, rather than the order on the score sheet.

Acceptance/Attachment  The first test involves evaluating the pup’s acceptance of the strange place and its willingness to interact with the stranger.  Ideal reaction is eye contact and interest in the stranger but no sign of nervousness in the interaction (we don’t want a “Protect me!” attitude), followed by visual investigation of the surroundings and then a return of attention to the tester. 
Rating: 10

          

Confidence  The confidence part of the test involves holding the pup out at arm’s length for several seconds.  Again, the pup should accept the handler putting it in position and remain calm.
Rating: 10
Comments: did not like, struggled, but is very confident moving all over on his own.

Eye Contact  Desire to connect with the tester by looking them in the eye was noted.
Rating:  9

           

Pain Sensitivity  The loose skin over the ribs or between the toes is gently pinched and the pup’s reaction is noted.  Ideal reaction is to notice the pinch but be unconcerned by it.  We also look for a willingness to forgive the tester.
Rating:  10-9
Comments:  No reaction

 

Retrieve   Next, willingness to retrieve is evaluated using different toys and balls.  Ideal reaction is to repeatedly being the toy back to the handler rather than moving off to “possess” it.  The type of bite on the toys is evaluated:  a full mouth bite shows more confidence and drive than a front-teeth-only bite.
Rating:  10

See those photos (to many to display here).
This test was also done the day before in the police/narcotics test.  See those photos.

Courage Test  Courage is normally evaluated using something that vibrates, makes noise and moves erratically.  Today we used a battery-operated robot that moves, makes noise and flashes all kinds of brilliant lights.  Will they stand their ground?  Will they go investigate it?  Excellent reaction is to go to it and check it out.  Extremely excellent reaction is to actually attack it while it moves.  Good reaction is to investigate it after the tester turns it off.  The tester encourages the pup to investigate after it is turned off, if the pup wouldn’t while it was making noise.  She notes how much encouragement is needed.
Rating:  10
Comments: Excellent!  He notices things, focuses on them, then approaches when he is ready!  Very adaptable to all new things.

See those photos (too many to display here).
This test was also done the day before in the police/narcotics test, using a different object.  See those photos.

Metal Object  Tester tosses a set of car keys and observes to see if pup will put its mouth on it, pick it up and/or retrieve it. (In the first photo of the Courage Test, look for Mr. X carrying the keys as Bonnie turns on the robot.)
Rating: 10-9

Unstable Footing   Since SAR dogs will search in all kinds of terrain and areas of destruction, they must be confident in insecure situations.  We made a rough, unsteady surface.  Toys were thrown or drug over the unstable area.
Rating:  10


This test was also done the day before in the police/narcotics test.  See those photos.

Puppy Drag  Usually I use the puppy drag (a rope with gunny sacks tied on that I tie around my waist) during Lovely’s ball sessions to keep the pups from attaching to my legs.  They are diverted to chase and tug on the gunny sacks.  The weather has been so hot that I hadn’t gotten it out, so this was totally new to Mr. X.  We used a strip of blanket and he loved it. 
Rating:  10
Comments: 
Loved it!

Tug  Ideal reaction is a full mouth bite, tug and do everything possible to possess the object.  We like to see a pup get its whole body on the sack/rope/toy in an effort to subdue it.
Rating:  10-9
See the Puppy Drag photos (above)
This test was also done the day before in the police/narcotics test.  See those photos. 

Reaction to Strange Objects  We used a battery-operated, remote-controlled mouse.
Rating:  10
Comments:  Really nice – focused on it, looked at it, approached then picked it up.

See those photos (too many to display here).

Hunt for Food I  This test begins with a piece of chicken jerky tied on a string and dragged to attract the pup’s interest and see how interested it is, how hard it will work to get it, and how hard it will work to keep it as the tester jerks, tugs and generally prevents the pup from easily eating it.  They also hold it high to see if the pup will look up to search for it.
Rating:  10

See those photos (too many to display here).

Cadaver Test  A jar containing cadaver material was placed on the floor where the pup would pass it. It’s reaction and interest or lack of interest were noted.
Rating:  10

Hunt for Food II  The tester hid treats under cones, on top of a training table – and even on the mouse.  I took homemade salmon treats. The pups had to use their noses to find where the treats were.  They were judged on how they how they used their noses and how systematic their searching was.
Rating:  10-9
Comments:  Not super frenzied to find food.  Laid-back hunter.

See those photos (too many to display here).

Runaway  The tester gets a pup’s attention and interest, then runs away and hides.  She observes how eagerly the pup comes and how naturally it uses its nose to find her once she hides. 
Rating:  10

See those photos (too many to display here).

Wagon  The pup was placed in a wagon.  One person walked to the side to keep the pup from jumping out, while the other pulled it around the room. 
Rating:  10-9

Prey Drive Strength of desire to chase and attack is evaluated.
Rating:  10

Perseverance (Chase)  Then perseverance is evaluated by seeing how enthusiastically they will pursue and grab hold of an object.  Ideal reaction is to pursue enthusiastically and grasp with a full mouth bite. 
Rating:  10-9

See those photos (too many to display here). 

The following are not illustrated with photos and are listed in the order they appear on the score sheet.

Independence  How comfortable is the pup, will it work away from the tester or does it stay underfoot?  Or does it avoid dealing with the tester by staying away and playing on its own.
Rating:  10

Hunt for Toy While playing with ball or soft toy, hide it and encourage pup to use nose to find it.  Interest?  How long will pup search?  Uses nose or eyes?  When thrown through tunnel, will it go after it? 
Rating:  10-9

Submission  The submission test is designed to give an idea of the pup’s tractability, trust in humans, and willingness to submit to a human’s directives. In the submission test the pup is held firmly on its back for a short period of time.  The tester counts the seconds it takes for him to resist, then accept, the restraint.  She should not passively accept the restraint, nor should she panic or show avoidance of eye contact.  Ideal reaction is to resist, then submit and look the tester in the face.  We also look for a willingness to forgive the tester. 
Rating:  9-8
Comments:  struggled throughout

Fear  A metal can filled with metal items (hinges, bolts, etc.) is dropped behind them from a height of about 2 feet while they are looking away from it.  One tester does this when the pup was intent on whatever the other tester is doing.  Will the pup hold its ground and then go look at what dropped from nowhere?  Excellent reaction is to acknowledge and turn towards the sound and then confidently go see what made the racket.  The tester encourages the pup to investigate, if it doesn’t on its own.  She notes how much encouragement is needed.  I find most of my pups look towards the racket and keep on playing with the toy they had, rather than stopping their play to go investigate.
Rating:  10 
Comments:  No reaction.  Thinks about things and takes things in stride.
This test was also done the day before in the police/narcotics test.  See those photos.

Surprise  This test involves getting the pup to follow you (or a toy) towards a  place with a hidden person, from behind which an umbrella is opened suddenly and then lowered to the ground, still open.  The pups are evaluated on how they recover from being startled and if they’ll go investigate.  Ideal reaction is for the pup to startle but hold its ground, then move right up to check out the umbrella.  A super excellent reaction is to go up and bite it and/or walk all over it. The tester encourages the pup to investigate after the umbrella is on the top step, if it doesn’t on its own.  She notes how much encouragement is needed.
Rating:  10
Comments: 
Approaches new things.
This test was also done the day before in the police/narcotics test.  See those photos.

Tester Comments:  Really nice pup with independence confidence and a nice human interaction.  Great tug and retrieve and willingness to please.  I loved his focus on new “scary” items and how he quickly worked himself up to and interacting. A happy pup.  A really nice “thinking” pup who is independent and confident yet very human-oriented.  His tug and retrieve drives are strong and will be easy to build on. He “checks in” with people regularly and is eager to please.  I loved how he focused on new and potentially scary things and quickly worked himself into approaching and interacting.  A happy guy who does self-entertaining.

Bonnie didn’t write it down, but he really liked the cadaver sample, went to it several times, then grabbed it and carried it back to the big tarp (with Bonnie in hot pursuit).  She said she hoped his new family doesn’t plan on leaving him alone loose, because everything is fair game to him as he amuses himself.  She also commented that he has an edge and will protest being treated unfairly – last night she loved it when Lovely started playing too roughly, pinning him to the ground in the process, and he fired back at her and got away.

Comparison
10 on Attachment, Confidence, Independence, Retrieve, Prey Drive, Unstable Footing, Runaway, Strange Object, Cadaver, Courage, Fear, Surprise, Hunt for Food I and Puppy Drag. 
10-9 on Sensitivity, Metal, Perseverance, Tug, Hunt for Toy, Wagon and Hunt for Food II
9:  Eye Contact
9-8: Submission

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