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Sniffer Dogs


greyishbeard
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A recent news story claims that an English Springer Spaniel has been trained to hunt out mobile phone handsets, which apparently have a particular scent.

 

Has anyone managed to train their dog to sniff out geocaches ?

 

What would be the best breed for this ?

 

A pointer would be good for geocachers who like to get the caches themselves. A useful addition to the GPSr.

 

Perhaps a retriever to fetch the cache and save you all that thrashing about in the undergrowth. Would need to be teamed up with a setter, to set the cache back into position after you've signed the log.

 

What about a dachshund ("dashhound") for those cache 'n' dash locations ?

 

Or a corgi for caches that contain those model toys...

 

Any more ?

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Has anyone managed to train their dog to sniff out geocaches ?

 

Skammer's Aussie Shepard, Blanco, finds caches. I've seen it with my own eyes on several occasions.

 

They sometimes feed him out of an ammo can and they have a huge backyard where they hide caches with dog treats inside.

 

It's a real hoot watchin' Blanco cache.

 

Aussies & Boarder Collies are VERY smart. They make great cache hunters.

 

Here's their profile: woof! woof!

Edited by Snoogans
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Yes there are people that have trained their dogs to find caches. There will be an article in Today's cacher in the next month or so about a cacher that trains dogs for a living, Search & Rescue, Drug dog, etc... He has trained his own dog to find caches and he has written a very good step by step article on how you can train your dog.

 

El Diablo

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I am no dog trainer, but do have two, a 12 y.o. Lab mix and a 1 y.o. Chiwawa (spelling intentional!).

 

Both can find caches if you are patient enough, as they will sniff out anything new or unusual in their environment - unfortunately, in the woods at my lake place, that means anything and everything! While they will eventually sniff out the cache hidden there, you could spend days following them around as they sniff out everything else!

 

Maybe consider adopting a retired drug or bomb-sniffing dog. They could perhaps be trained to find the scent of oil on ammo cans; don't have any idea how you would train them to find tupperware or micros, as human scent will be the only smell they could hunt for, and it'll be everyhere in the cache area.

 

Good luck!

Ed

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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I'm sure it can be done... my own young Standard Poodle 'Aero' found a cache with a Moun10Bike coin in it! It was a difficult search (meaning - I'd about given up) in falling darkness on a rainy windblown rock slope above the Independence Mine in Hatcher's Pass, Alaska. Aero had the advantage of having met the folks on the Alaska Cache'N'Dash team who'd placed the decon & coin just two nights before we looked for the hide. It cemented our relationship as a caching team, I must say! Of course, my daughter & I had Aero out caching within 4 hours of picking her up from the breeder on Fathers Day 2005 (see this log and photo).

 

In most cases I have Aero lie down next to my gear bag as we get to the cache hide - she tends to bound across most sites and mess up any trails left by previous visitors. If I can't find it quickly I tell her to 'find it' - and about a third of the time she's to the hide before I am. I'd like to increase that ratio, but we're focused on 'attention' training right now - related to being a canine 'good citizen' and staying right alongside me offlead no matter what the distractions, when commanded to do so. She's already learned to 'respect' moose and bears (meaning she quietly bounds back to me at first sight/whiff and sticks like glue to my left leg) - which makes me a little spooked around dusk, as she equates big dark stumps etc with possible moose (her first encounter was with a moose lying calmly in the trail - and then it jumped up and put a healthy fear of moose into her!).

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Our lab seems to know what geocaching is. He's not actually found any containers, but he'll be on the trail and turn off when we're close to the cache. I guess he smells others that have been there.

 

He's also good at getting us there and back with the least amount of bushwhacking. He has a keen sense finding the most open way without going through all the brush.

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Yes there are people that have trained their dogs to find caches. There will be an article in Today's cacher in the next month or so about a cacher that trains dogs for a living, Search & Rescue, Drug dog, etc... He has trained his own dog to find caches and he has written a very good step by step article on how you can train your dog.

 

El Diablo

 

I would very much like to read this step by step article. Will this be the same article posted in Today's Cacher?

 

.. ..

 

My dog will track the trail and sometimes circle the base of the tree where the cache is hidden. Just haven't gotten her to be consistent... She is usually pre-occupied with all the other smells..

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Yes there are people that have trained their dogs to find caches. There will be an article in Today's cacher in the next month or so about a cacher that trains dogs for a living, Search & Rescue, Drug dog, etc... He has trained his own dog to find caches and he has written a very good step by step article on how you can train your dog.

 

El Diablo

 

I would very much like to read this step by step article. Will this be the same article posted in Today's Cacher?

 

.. ..

 

My dog will track the trail and sometimes circle the base of the tree where the cache is hidden. Just haven't gotten her to be consistent... She is usually pre-occupied with all the other smells..

 

Yes. If you email me at JC364@aol.com I'll send you a copy of the article.

 

El Diablo

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Maybe consider adopting a retired drug or bomb-sniffing dog. They could perhaps be trained to find the scent of oil on ammo cans; don't have any idea how you would train them to find tupperware or micros, as human scent will be the only smell they could hunt for, and it'll be everyhere in the cache area.

 

Good luck!

Ed

I would guess a retired bomb-sniffing dog would be really good at finding ammo cans given that ammo cans at one time contained ammo.

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Maybe consider adopting a retired drug or bomb-sniffing dog. They could perhaps be trained to find the scent of oil on ammo cans; don't have any idea how you would train them to find tupperware or micros, as human scent will be the only smell they could hunt for, and it'll be everyhere in the cache area.

 

Good luck!

Ed

I would guess a retired bomb-sniffing dog would be really good at finding ammo cans given that ammo cans at one time contained ammo.

 

I don't think it's quite that easy. Even though a dog might have been trained at one time, doesn't mean it still is. Those dogs are trained constantly to keep their level of proficiency. If training stops, so do they.

 

Also having been a law enforcement officer, I've never seen a retired police dog put up for adoption. Usually when they retire they are given to their handlers.

 

El Diablo

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I've taught my dog Molly (who is some mixture of Catahoula and/or cattle dog, lab, and who knows what else) to find plastic and, more recently, metal cache containers. Plastic does have a distinctive odor (take a whiff of a new food storage container before you wash it for the first time) that dogs can learn to recognize. It's also true that most dogs are attracted to the human scent on and around a cache. Molly doesn't range too far from where I'm searching, and most of the time I don't ask her to search unless I know where the container is. Her percentage is pretty good (about 75%) if I get her close, and she has found a few caches before I had any idea where they were hidden.

 

For an amazing true story about a cachin' K9 finding a lost cell phone, check out my log from March 14, 2004 for this cache, which is now archived:

 

Prominent in its Field (GCHVQ9)

 

The "Peter&Bella" referred to in that log is the person who wrote the upcoming article for Today's Cacher, and his dogs Bella and Khybur are very impressive cache-sniffers.

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A cacher in my area has a pretty efficient cache sniffing Rottweiler he uses. He finds roughly 8/10 caches. However, he is only good at finding them if they have been recently handled as he goes by human smells, not container smells.

 

Well, I signed the log on the cache that Scammer's dog, Blanco, found for me. I, having the opposable thumbs to accomplish that feat, considered it a find. <_<

 

Blanco could neither open the ammo can, nor sign the log himself. I consider it a TEAM effort. :anitongue:

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A cacher in my area has a pretty efficient cache sniffing Rottweiler he uses. He finds roughly 8/10 caches. However, he is only good at finding them if they have been recently handled as he goes by human smells, not container smells.

 

Well, I signed the log on the cache that Scammer's dog, Blanco, found for me. I, having the opposable thumbs to accomplish that feat, considered it a find. B)

 

Blanco could neither open the ammo can, nor sign the log himself. I consider it a TEAM effort. B)

 

Ike, my St. Bernard/Shepard found several caches. he got out of the truck and made a bee-line for them. No need for my GPS. Some hadn't been looged for quite awhile. I don't know if it was scent of humans or tupperware.(I used tupperware bowls to scoop my dogs food for them) Was a hoot watching him. It was like he knew he found something special. I wanted to let him log it, but he's so modest and didn't want to. he did get a treat on the spot and a trip to Mcdonalds!

 

Pardon the pun, but long live dog-cachers!

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Yes there are people that have trained their dogs to find caches. There will be an article in Today's cacher in the next month or so about a cacher that trains dogs for a living, Search & Rescue, Drug dog, etc... He has trained his own dog to find caches and he has written a very good step by step article on how you can train your dog.

 

El Diablo

 

I would very much like to read this step by step article. Will this be the same article posted in Today's Cacher?

 

.. ..

 

My dog will track the trail and sometimes circle the base of the tree where the cache is hidden. Just haven't gotten her to be consistent... She is usually pre-occupied with all the other smells..

 

Yes. If you email me at JC364@aol.com I'll send you a copy of the article.

 

El Diablo

 

My black lab has sniffed out 2 or 3 caches so far. It might have been coincidence but I don't think so. I'd like a copy of the article as well and will email you. Thanks!

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Yes there are people that have trained their dogs to find caches. There will be an article in Today's cacher in the next month or so about a cacher that trains dogs for a living, Search & Rescue, Drug dog, etc... He has trained his own dog to find caches and he has written a very good step by step article on how you can train your dog.

 

El Diablo

 

I would very much like to read this step by step article. Will this be the same article posted in Today's Cacher?

 

.. ..

 

My dog will track the trail and sometimes circle the base of the tree where the cache is hidden. Just haven't gotten her to be consistent... She is usually pre-occupied with all the other smells..

 

Yes. If you email me at JC364@aol.com I'll send you a copy of the article.

 

El Diablo

 

My black lab has sniffed out 2 or 3 caches so far. It might have been coincidence but I don't think so. I'd like a copy of the article as well and will email you. Thanks!

 

Sent.

 

El Diablo

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Our West Highland Terrier seems to know when we are about to go geocaching. The sound of the printer activating is one indicator for him (we are not part of the paperless crowd) and when we grab the shoulder bag. He is ready to go whether he get to go or not. He sniffs out everything but the cache but he sits patiently while he find them.

 

Not a geocaching dog but a geocaching companion.

Edited by brodiebunch
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Aussies & Boarder Collies are VERY smart. They make great cache hunters.

 

Why, thankyou! :huh: (On behalf of all Aussies...)

 

We all know how smart Border Collies are; well, those of us who've ever seen a Lassie movie!

 

"Woof, woof" "What's that, Lassie? He got the datum wrong and it's 200m that way? Good girl!"

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I always thought it would be interesting to teach a dog to find dollar bills as well as caches.

 

I figure the dog would find some "is that suppsed to be there?" cash in some public hiding place at least ONCE before it's life is over. Or maybe a stray dollar bill that someone dropped.

 

But if there was a stash of illegal drugs with the money, I'd have to call the cops, since I am sure not messing with THAT stuff.

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We all know how smart Border Collies are; well, those of us who've ever seen a Lassie movie!

 

"Woof, woof" "What's that, Lassie? He got the datum wrong and it's 200m that way? Good girl!"

 

Erm - Lassie wasn't a Border Collie; he (the TV and movie Lassies were all male) was a Rough Collie.

 

I cache with my dogs (one of whom is a half-Border lurcher) all the time, but neither is interested in hunting for plastic, unfortunately. Give 'em a squirrel or rabbit, now, and they're on it. :lol:

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Our German Shorthaired Pointer is pretty good at seeking out caches. We wish he was better, but the breed is meant for pointing and retrieving so it shouldn't be too hard to train him for the task. Currently his nose serves us best to get us out of the woods at night when we stupidly forget the flashlight.

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I was requesting the article from El Diablo, so I'm going to relate the stories that I told him about my caching K9 experiences.

 

My dogs are bloodhounds, members of First Response Search and Rescue. Two are active duty, and my third one looks like he's going to be an article recovery dog. He's found 3 caches already, without any true scent training yet; I was quite shocked when he did it, since I'd only worked on the most elementary of runaway trails with him, so he doesn't really understand yet what I mean when I tell him to "Find it."

 

The first cache was an artificial prickly pear lobe that was stuck in the ground. I didn't even stop to think that it was unusual for just one prickly pear lobe to be present, since they're usually in a mass. I was scratching my head and digging around in the trees; Curly Jo went straight to it and started sniffing around it. It was the very first time that I'd ever taken him geocaching with me by himself (at least one of the other hounds had always been with him before. He was brand new to Texas, and he didn't know how to navigate through our underbrush, so I was using the other dogs to show him how to bust brush.) After I got to looking at the cache, I thought to myself, "That just doesn't look right." Sure enough, he had nailed the cache.

 

There was a new series of caches put out shortly after that cache. I went out with the first wave of cachers to go find them; I think I was several hours behind another local team. The cache coordinates were bouncing around, about 40-50 feet off, due to the heavy tree cover and poor satellite reception. On the first one, Curly Jo hit the end of the lead like he was working a real trail, so I just kept up with him, dodging the lethal 6 inch mesquite thorns. I kept looking at the GPS and seeing that we were going in the right direction, so I let him take over. I got close, but couldn't find it where the GPS indicated. Curly dragged me over to a tree, and there it sat. By now, I'm starting to wonder about this hound with no formal training.

 

The second cache had me going 180 degrees in the wrong direction; the GPS indicated hard right, and Curly took a hard left. Sure enough, he got me within 10 feet of the cache. He was following the scent trail of the same local team of cachers who had been at the previous cache several hours before. They had hit the entire series just before we did. Now I'm convinced that Curly Jo has an aptitude that my other two hounds don't yet have, so his training will focus on article recovery.

 

I'm starting to think there's a new major brand of GPSr out there now-- the "Bloodhound."

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I cache with my dogs (one of whom is a half-Border lurcher) all the time, but neither is interested in hunting for plastic, unfortunately. Give 'em a squirrel or rabbit, now, and they're on it. :cry:

 

Some great stories in here. We cached with Ali the Lurcher until a few weeks ago when he sadly died :cry: . He was also a border cross lurcher (greyhound was the other half as far as we can make out) and he was HOPELESS at finding the cache. As we hunted he'd lie down somewhere and grumble to himself until we found it, then immediately run to my bag for a Bonio. It took him about 5 caches to learn that a box coming out of the undergrowth meant a biscuit for him, and the day I forgot his treat he sulked for 3 miles all the way back to the car! :P He'd never refuse a trip out though, and regularly used to cover ten miles across country with me. He was great company when I cached without Sarah. Yuo can see him at www.wildlifewebcam.co.uk

 

The only way you could get a cache to hold any interest for Ali would be to cover it in fur and tow it across a field at 20mph, which some people might deem inappropriate treatment of the cache!

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Um, Border Collies are not so much smart as easily trained (yup, there is a difference!) And most dogs can be trained to track anything with a scent. Out of interest the average dog has 10 to the power of 25 (thats 10 with another 25 zeros behind it) times better scent than humans.

 

I cache with 6 dogs. The best one is a small cross breed who was a rescue. He has found caches, but his best talent is finding the best route back to the car for me. :laughing:

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