Tracking vs. Trailing - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 09-09-2012, 11:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tracking vs. Trailing

Hi all
My question is, why do you do tracking rather than trailing with your dogs?

I would like to do either with my dogs, but I can't decide which one would be "better".
It seems to me that Tracking is more of a sport, very regimented and step by step instructions are easily available but also if the dog doesn't walk in a perfectly straight line etc it's a fault even tho the dog is doing the job?

Trailing seems to be more SAR kinda stuff, much more efficient and a lot less "rules". The dog has to do a bit more "thinking".

I don't have any tracking or SAR clubs in my area which means it's something I pretty much have to teach myself as I go along.
I have been to a tracking seminar recently and my older dog seems to be much better at tracking than trailing - according to the trainer. She does everything with the nose on the ground, even when I was hiding and the trainer was handling her - she did air scent but still had the nose on the ground looking for a track - she managed to walk straight past me LOL
I have started reading "Tracking Dog - Theory and Methods" it's very informative but also very overwhelming

Any info or comments are appreciated
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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the DOG will select what ever is easiest and best for the conditions of the scent and the environmet .
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok that makes sense but in a tracking competition for example they have to track don't they?
Sorry I'm really new to this and it's all quite confusing.

I just found the website for the tracking association in my state and it's the most uninformative and off putting website I have ever come across LOL

For example - If my DH and I decide we're gonna take Hex for a walk we usually play Hide and seek - he goes off to hide and I get Hex to find him. Usually the dog takes off at a run (on lead) and quite often overshoots his hiding place then doubles back and finds him. I assume it's because he's run out of the scent cone and then has to turn back to pick up the scent again - so he is Trailing?

On the other hand the older dog Mojo will put her nose down and pretty much follow where Hubby walked - so she's tracking? (she will also go and search for a scent in the air if she looses the ground track)

Thanks for the help
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It does not hurt a trailing dog to start it tracking because they need to be aware of the crushed vegetation part of a trail as well to recover when there are scent voids. It is probably better, JMO because trailing dog should put the nose down, not up when they loose scent but follow an airborne scent when they catch it.

Mojo is trailing. Hex is probably following the air scent which has not settled down to the ground yet. Both easy with something fresh a bit more difficult if it was 12 hours ago.
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