Is this Exceptional? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Is this Exceptional?

So I am completely new to tracking, I have just done some basic reading about it and never much more.
I have a 10 month old GSD female who I have never done any nosework with. Lots of OB but no nose work.

Yesterday I layed tracks for the first time. Ground was frozen/wet with a light snow covering.
Track 1: Placed the dog in a down stay. Then layed a 40ish yard track in a straight line. Ever other step or so I dropped bits of cheese and crushed it into my prints. At the end I placed the tennis ball with a treat on top.
Hitched the dog to the long line, pointed at the ground and said search. Her nose went down and she immidiately found the first piece of cheese. From then on it was nose to the ground did some zig zaging but mostly stayed in exacly the track I had layed. Was on the tennis ball in about 1 minute.

Track 2:
Later that day drove to field she has never been in. Left her in the car, then layed another 40ish yard track with dry treats this time about every other or third step. Placed my car keys at the end with a treat on them. This track crossed recent foot prints of a dog and person.
Took the dog out of the car hitched her up told her to search. Off she goes does some zigging and zagging about two times kinda gets a bit off track, all I said was "your off the track!" and she immidiately gets back on the track gets about half the treats but pulls me right to the keys she sniffs around them for a few seconds the second her nose touches them I praise and reward with her ball. Track took about 1 minute.

TODAY Track 3: Went out to the field behind our house. Layed a track with her kibble and a few treats. Every second or third step. Snow is melted to grass is mostly wet/muddy. Layed about 100 yards of track. Track had 3 turns and passed over two area frequented by dogs and people. Placed a tennis ball at the end.
Went back inside after about 5-10 mins got the dog took her to the begining of the track told her to search also threw a treat on the ground. Nose to the ground she followed the track right to the end in about two minutes got about half the kibbles at the begining but towards the second half skipped most of them and dragged me to the ball. She did get destracted once or twice sniffing grass were im fairly sure dogs peed. I just said "your off track" and gave her line a tug. She immidiately got back to it.

In all cases I hid the ball and keys in longer grass so no she could not see the target from the begining of the track.

So is this normal? WHat are some good ways to challenge her further?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 04:48 PM
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Dogs know how to track from the beginning. So, it's not a surprize. I just ordered a new tracking workbook from Susan Eldred with suggested tracking exercizes. I can't wait to get it. Here is her training philosophy.

Our Philosophy | Fascinating Scent

"And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 06:05 PM
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Welcome to the world of tracking!

The possibilities are endless.

* lay tracks with wind, against wind and cross wind
* add corners, start with right angle then move on to acute angled
* build distance (AKC tracking can be over 1/2 mile long)
* age the tracks longer (anywhere up to several hours)
* different surfaces (sand, mud, concrete)
* blind tracks (someone else lays)
* Multiple articles
* No food on track
* cross tracks (someone else walks (traverse) across a track you just laid)
* track in rain, snow, heat, cold

etc etc

Start slow, read as much as you can on the subject (a bad habit now can be difficult to break later), seek professional training if you feel the need.

Generally vary only one parameter at a time when introducing in new stuff.

Here would be an (brief) example of how I would start a new dog tracking.

* Start with short tracks laid into the wind, article at end
* build distance until dog can do 100 yrds
* repeat with track laid with wind (scent is harder to pick up)
* repeat with tracks laid across the wind
* introduce 1 corner, second leg into the wind, first leg will be crosswind
* 1 corner, second leg with wind
(at this point start weaning off the food drops on track and only reward food at the article, but continue to use some food drops when introducing changes or when problems occur)
* introduce multiple corners
* introduce multiple articles
* build distance (at least 300yds)
* build aging (min 20 mins, up to 1hr)
* blind tracks (same format)

If you can get your dog to that level (and that may take many months) then move on to advanced stuff.

* Cross tracks
* varying surfaces
* longer distances
* longer aging

Good luck!
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 06:27 PM
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What "style" tracking are you doing? are you going to be titling or is this just for fun? If it is for titling be very aware of what is allowed and what is not and what is scored well. The styles are quite different.

I don't think anyone can really say if it's a great job or not without being there to see for themselves

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info guys. The goal is eventually going to be Scch titling if I can get her over the insecurity enough to put her on the sleeve.
If that doesnt work out I might try titling her in some other form of tracking.

I know it probably doesnt work like this but you always see in the movies the handler give the dog an article from the person and the dog finds the person. Lol is there any analagous method.

Iv actually contemplated taking her hunting could se be taught to scent game..kinda all over the place here lol.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 08:59 PM
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If you do want to get an IPO tracking title, you really need to be sure you aren't starting wrong, fixing is much harder than teaching it right from the getgo.
If you just want to track for fun, then maybe have her search for things of value.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 09:08 PM
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If your goal is SchH I would find a trainer or a club to give you some pointers on starting the tracking. SchH tracking is about taking the drive and instinct and channeling it into precise footstep tracking that involves a lot of training and is almost more of an obedience exercise (taking something the dog *can* do naturally, but executing it in a certain style that has to be trained and proofed). You don't want the dog skipping kibble at this stage or dragging you to a reward at the end. Usually before laying a track of any length the dog is introduced to scent pads or learning what they are supposed to be tracking (the human's scent and the crushed vegetation). You don't have to do it this way but most people do. The dog's behavior while tracking is very important. There's a thread in the SchH forum right now with an excellent video of a nice dog demonstrating a near perfect track. That is the type of behavior you want to see from your dog from the very beginning, and you only begin to add the length and make it more complex when the dog is already showing the correct behavior. When it comes to SchH tracking, it's the calm, focused, deep nose, methodical behavior that shows excellence rather than how far the dog can go how quickly.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, Im actually part of a club I just havent got into the tracking phase yet as the dog is to insecure to do bitework atm and we are working on that. If she can overcome that in the next year we will get into tracking this spring/summer. If not Ill be pulling her from the sport. I was just having some fun on my own and didnt want to wait until january to speak to the TD about it as we are on a break
Ill stop being lazy and do some more research on the IPO version before we progress.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:46 PM
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Even if she doesn't pan out on the bitework, you can still earn separate individual Obedience and tracking titles. It would be a great learning experience while you wait for your next dog. So with that in mind, do take the time to get proper guidance in starting her off in tracking the correct way.


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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 10:00 PM
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I'm glad to see you so enthused about tracking.

Look at this blog Birch-Bark Hill written by the CKC tracking rep for n Ontario -- she can tell you which clubs are active in your area, inform you about trial dates. The blog itself offers a great deal of information on tracking .
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