German Shepherd Dog Forums - View Single Post - I feel like we are not getting this right.
View Single Post
Old 02-21-2014, 04:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
Master Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 950
Default I feel like we are not getting this right.

So far we have had 3 sessions with a tracking club and I practice 2-3x a week at home. We are doing 70 yards with bait every 4-5 feet or so. These are single-laid tracks on short grass that are blind for the dog, but not the handler. Next week we start turns. This is all well and good. I feel like my dog is not actually tracking, though. I think she is just looking for the bait visually, or possibly air-scenting. She doesn't move in a straight line and if she can't see the bait, she gets confused and starts turning in circles looking for it. She misses a lot of the bait even if she gets to the end of the track unless it is something very obvious like pieces of white cheese. I always start in a down before the track and point out where it starts. I don't see her "take off" after scent like I do with a friend's dog that I handle. Usually when she gets closer to the article, I do see a positive indication from her body language.

She knows how to use her nose to find articles. If I hide them in the yard she can solve that puzzle fairly easily, no bait required. I am starting to see something similar when we practice tracking. For instance if there is a track with one turn, she will try to cross the diagonal to get to the article instead of following the turn. I don't think she can see the article so she must be smelling its scent cone somehow.

I'm wondering if I'm not doing something right. Should I be using more bait? Less? Part of me thinks I should not be obsessing about the track at all and just keep making it harder for her to find the article, making sure to lay a straight track and maybe double-back on it.

I will ask my instructor, but I think I know her idea: she said to restart the dog at the point where they last had scent. She also wants us to keep a very short leash and not allow them to stray from the track. Well, if we did that we would be restarting every 10 feet so I feel like something must be fundamentally missing. If I try to guide my dog physically where the track is, she gets frustrated and lies down.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Kaimeju is offline   Reply With Quote