Grumeti Fund Canine Unit Update
My name is Chris Aycock and I am the president of the American Society of Canine Trainers International. We are an organization, which develops, reviews, and certifies canine programs across the globe. While most of our certified programs do not specifically rely on myself for training and leadership, Grumeti Fund is one that does and is dear to my heart. After one year of service, I made a visit to the Grumeti Canine Unit for teaching and evaluation. Sharing the reviews seems a great idea to allow others to see what these units do and how they are functioning. I hope you enjoy it.
Excerpts from Chris’ training journal
It’s great to be back in Grumeti again! The dogs look superiorly fit with perfect weights and muscle tone. The canine’s temperaments were relaxed and cheerful – very much the same as every other time I have seen the dogs. All six of the handlers were present today and seemed not only relaxed but also confident. I have not seen this in any other African canine program.
This morning we trained at the workshop for speed drills. These drills are a regular part of the unit’s training regimen and consist of very fast deployment for searches with one or two vehicles scanned and then the canine returned. High energy, speed, and exacting searches are the goals. The dogs and handlers all performed extremely well on the unknown hides. I am particularly pleased with the fact that the dogs are engaged with enthusiasm. and without distractions, of any sort.
The Canine Unit has absolutely no laziness within them. One year into the program, things are no longer a novelty but rather hard work. Yet, the same enthusiasm I saw one year ago is present and exciting. These guys move quickly in all activity and with purpose. I personally saw Gisonte set three tracks of some length. Yet, after the final one, he jumped off the truck to run behind another dog in complete voluntary desire.
Radar exuded a tremendous energy effort and none of us had any idea where the track was or if he was on it. However, Mayunga trusted Radar and he took us to a large section of acacia trees. There, Radar was exhausted. He stopped. I instructed the team of how to handle the situation: they brought Radar to the vehicle, immediately wet his head, spine, and undercarriage. He had water and was rested in shade. Mayunga advised that he thought another dog should be dropped. However, I encouraged him to keep trying, as Radar was safe. We contacted Mugoye to confirm we were on track and he confirmed we were exactly where they entered the trees. The canine team continued through the trees and indeed we did find the decoys. They had passed through the convoluted trees and into another field. Super job by Mayunga and Radar.
We met at the headquarters for a meeting. I told the teams that they have most certainly reached and exceeded my expectations of growth for the 1st year. They are working as teams with far more experience and growth. We reviewed all of the new concepts which I instructed this trip and others from our past trips.
I encouraged them to do some training in the areas of higher grasses (once every couple of weeks) so they and the dogs are very familiar with odor variations in those environments.
2018 has been a real pleasure for myself and Karin in serving Grumeti. I do not say with any self-pride but rather facts that the six handlers and four canines at Grumeti could serve anywhere in the world and match or top the performances of others. And I know because I see these other teams. I do thank all of you guys for the hospitality, care, and attention you have treated us with during our trips.