Please log in as a Pro member to see the recording of Grisha's June, 2016 interview with bomb detection dog handler and trainer Monique Masoe below.
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Topics for questions: scent detection training, narcotics detection dog training, bomb detection dog training, general dog training, horse training
Questions from the interview:
- Can you tell us about the work that you do with dogs for NZ airport security?
- What's the process for a dog coming into your program and going through training?
- Your organization focuses on positive reinforcement, whereas some other places are still using a mix of positive motivation and aversives like leash corrections. How did that come about?
- One thing I remember when we talked was that your team's dogs do bomb detection work off leash. What are the differences in your team's style from some other groups you have seen, and why?
- How much of a scent dog's "search pattern" is determined or guided by the handler, and how much is the dog "problem solving" to find odor? Does it depend on the dog/job?
- How do you train the dogs not to make contact (like pawing or licking) with the scent sources?
- Do you train an "all clear" behavior? I have heard a lot of different thoughts on this wondering what you think of this practice if you use it. If you don't, can you share your thoughts on why.
About Monique Masoe:
Monique worked as a Narcotics Detector Dog handler for 12 years with the New Zealand Customs Service. She worked with two dogs; her first was a labrador from the pound called Lucky and her second dog was a German Shorthaired Pointer called Chess (she was black with white spots)
Monique has now also worked for the New Zealand Aviation Security Service (basically same sort of functions as the TSA in the US) for nearly 10 years, first as a dog trainer, then as the National Standards and Training Manager and now as the National Manager. She has trained numerous dogs and handlers. She was instrumental in convincing the New Zealand Aviation Security Service to change its training methods from force based to reward based marker training approximately 5 years ago.
All of the New Zealand Aviation Security Service teams use this method now, with great feedback from the handlers. She has also helped by mentoring the New Zealand Police Detector Dog trainers and the New Zealand Corrections Dog trainers and handlers in a switch over to reward based marker training.
Monique has run numerous marker/reward based training workshops for the Aviation Security Service handlers/trainers and those of other agencies including, NZ Police, Corrections, Customs, Urban Search and Rescue, and Mobility Dogs. Dr Susan Friedman has been an inspiration to Monique and a great help to the New Zealand Aviation Security Service. As part of their training, their handlers complete the "Living and Learning with Animals" course that is run by "Behavior Works," Susan's company. Susan has helped them develop their own internal training system. The feedback from the handlers is very positive with a much better response from the dog and a great bond between dog and handler.
Outside of work, Monique loves to ride and play with her horses. She also coaches people in reward-based training of their horses