Training the Schutzhund Send Out Exercise
The send out also known as the "voraus" or "go out", is easily trained with the K-9BSD by taking advantage of the dogs ability to see motion far easier than motionless objects. Further, even if the dog is not looking or headed in correct direction, the audible click generated by device cues dog in correct direction to see prey item in motion. These two facts alone remove the bulk of training required to get the dog headed down the field in the desired direction. Another plus is ability to use prey drive as it generates some real speed in the send out. It also does a good job of generating more speed on dogs that already know the send out but do it half heartedly.
The send out is the last exercise the judge will see of your performance during the obedience trial so it is the most important to leave a good impression. The K-9 BSD makes training of send out simple yet very effective at producing high drive send outs.
Training of the send out should be done by itself and the down ("platz") should be trained separately.
Then later combine the two into the exercise on a variable ratio of 1 platz per 10 send outs or more with no set pattern. Example 13 send outs then 1 with platz, then 7, etc, too many platz's kill the drive. Resist temptation to do it too often. You also can be training the platz at different location same time as the send out.
Prior to start of training the send out, the dog should know all basic obedience commands and should have been introduced to device. Next, step pick a couple of areas in the field where you will send dog to that have both cover in background and something you can hang device from. See Training Events. Device can be kept on ground if you have long range receiver option its range is 600'plus. The standard BSD transmitter/receiver range is 175'on ground and 400' if elevated off ground by approximately 3'. Another option is to use an assistant. See transmitter/receiver section. The use of tennis ball works best, as with its continued motion creates more prey drive. Do not introduce platz (the down) until you have done approximately 25 send outs so the foundation is solid. By this time you should have dog showing good build up and quickly leaves heel position on command of voraus, and shows speed all the way down field.
Training of Send Out (voraus)
In this training scenario the reward is always ejected 25' before dog reaches device.
Set BSD 10' from end of field with some form of cover in background at 90 degree angle. Note: from down field looking at area dog will be sent to you want him to see maximum amount of motion that is why device is set at 90 degrees . Each time you cock device for another send out in same area rotate 180 degrees so dog doesn't anticipate the area the reward will end up at. Place dog approximately 50' back from device encourage him to "get it" (don't use Voraus at this time) holding him with left hand and giving arm signal with right, release dog while he is showing good speed release reward . Don't worry if he is going all the way to device before releasing during learning phase. If you see him slowing at all release reward. Move the dog back in 50' steps, till you make end of field which will take 5 steps and quit their for day (or sooner if dog is tiring). Quit on a high drive run.
Set the BSD in cover end of field at angle so that reward will eject out onto to field at right angle. Let dog see you put it in cover walk him back 150' from device. From a start position (sitting) have dog heel as you walk towards device the required 10-15 paces release with your hand signal and command voraus at same time. Release reward early if dog hesitates or seems unsure, but from this point on the goal is to release reward later and getting the dog to within 25' from end of field. Continue moving back in 50' steps until you are at end of field and dog is showing good speed all the way down field. Remember to rotate device so it ejects prey item either left or right of device onto field. Next, I would have dog do send out in different area. Whenever changing the picture (sending dog to new send out area) allow him to see you set device in cover then walk him back to your start area and do the send out. Once the dog has done the send out about 25 times he will more than likely go full speed to any area without this step.
Training of the Platz (for use with send out)
The dog should already know down or platz command capable of doing platz out of motion prior to use in send out. The K-9 BSD produces a very high state of drive due to the fact that it is a active remote reward much the same way the helper is. The use of e-collar is preferred method to enforce the platz. This should be done in different environment other than training field.
Next (without dog), practice doing a distinct "loud" platz command that is noticeably different than general obedience platz the dog has been accustomed to. Once the command word is well rehearsed, take dog to area other than normal training environment with two balls. Next have him sit at side, throw the ball and send the dog. As soon as he is about 25' away from you give him platz !!!! Command. I allow only 1 second to comply. So if he keeps running he gets nicked with e-collar. If the dog should down without correction wait 5 seconds and then throw the other ball (the five seconds pause will help prevent future creeping and not downing completely). If dog needed correction to platz do not reward. I would then end this session and continue on with whatever was doing like nothing happened.
The next day, again in another different environment, I would set dog up again so he is in high drive situation and the first time you get good fast platz reward after 5 second pause. The main idea here is put dog in a situation where he is in very high state of drive away from training field and then demand, and always be prepared to enforce the command platz!!!!.
You know when you're ready for send out when just out of blue during play or walking you give "platz!!!!" command and dog hits ground in split second without hesitation. Once the dog understands that the distinct "platz!!!!" means hit the dirt, now you, as the dogs handler, should not overuse it or you will loose it!!!. From this point on, the only time dog hears this distinct "platz!!!!" is during send out or an emergency situation. I typically test by taking advantage of some high drive or distracting situation about once every four months, or about week before trialing.
Combining the Send Out and Platz!!!!
Do full field send out once dog is approximately 50' away (from handler) give Platz!!!! command wait five seconds and give release command (yes, ok, etc). At the same time you throw ball to dog, this keeps dog attention towards handler. Next go back to normal send out (variable ratio of 1 platz per 10 send outs), but each time you have platz come up you allow dog to move down field 50' further before giving platz and reward with ball thrown from handler until you make end of field. Do not reward dog with device, this takes focus off handler and has dog looking around to where reward may be coming from. Once a number of send out and platz's are done, the dog should understand if platz comes up, reward is coming from handler.