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Old 11-02-2013, 05:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tracking with low food/toy drive

I've been wanting to get into tracking with Gypsy for a while. I read through Glen Johnson's Tracking Dog book and it seems elusively simple. The issue is that I have a dog who doesn't seem that interested in food unless I give it to her, and isn't interested in toys unless I make them squeak. However, she is very interested in using her nose. Being released to sniff at things is such a powerful reinforcer for her that I have started using that instead of treats in our outdoor training sessions. I'm not exactly sure how to train a dog like this to track, or whether I should even try. If it won't be fun for her then I don't really want to push it.

Things I have already attempted:
  • Putting food on the floor in the house as a game (she will recover some of it but gives up after 4-5 pieces, even if they are in plain sight).
  • Filling articles with food and throwing them (no interest).
  • Using higher value food (only remains high value for one session and then she is bored).
What are some basic things I should try to get started? She seems to be highly attracted to novelty, so one thing that occurred to me is maybe I should try laying a very short track along with something she has never smelled before.
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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is she social? try a master track , which means you go and hide , have someone else handle her .
Let her see you go -- mid way look back to her , get her excited , want to re-unite, but keep going . Lay down or hide out of sight . Let the dog and your handler-friend spend some time but without the handler interacting or distracting the dogs attention. Then after an agreed time span have the handler ask the dog -- where is she , let's go find her-- find her !

hopefully there is enough of a social draw to make the dog find you --- be quiet , let her work it out and when she is almost on top of you go wild with praise.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm really interested in tracking also, though I haven't stated yet I have friends who do and my friend gave me a tip, she said to make eating a game so that my dog keeps high food drive she uses really smelly treats (meatballs) and has my girl Anna chase her hands around following them like a lure and Anna gets really excited about the food, I also will put her dry food in a plastic cup an rattle it around she's very interested in the food and also getting to the cup to eat, I'm not sure how much help this will be but I figure is share, she tells me as my dog grows and other drives grow stronger this will help her be excited and motivated by food.


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Old 01-05-2014, 12:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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is she social? try a master track , which means you go and hide , have someone else handle her .
Let her see you go -- mid way look back to her , get her excited , want to re-unite, but keep going . Lay down or hide out of sight . Let the dog and your handler-friend spend some time but without the handler interacting or distracting the dogs attention. Then after an agreed time span have the handler ask the dog -- where is she , let's go find her-- find her !

hopefully there is enough of a social draw to make the dog find you --- be quiet , let her work it out and when she is almost on top of you go wild with praise.
Finally got a chance to try this and it was a major hit! Almost too much so. I had my fiance handle Gypsy and she literally ripped the lead out of his hand trying to find me. We eventually decided that he should be the one to hide because she was just charging around like a maniac every time I hid. I think for a play session it was pretty good. I saw her pick up the trail a few times through air scenting, and when I was handling her she was sometimes able to settle and actually stop and think for a moment about where to put her nose next. Now I just have to figure out how to get her to slow down. She clearly had the time of her life.

We're signed up for an intro to tracking class next weekend. The instructor uses the Sil Sanders approach and it looks like we'll be learning about the topic slowly and methodically. I can't wait!
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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good .

don't worry about style or delivery yet , just get her to connect the dots and love doing it
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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good .

don't worry about style or delivery yet , just get her to connect the dots and love doing it
we started with carmspack's suggestion a couple years ago and have graduated to hiding a treat or a toy in the woods and having him go for it. I am now trying to figure out if our GSD is air scenting or actually tracking.

carmspack- thoughts/assistance on my post?
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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buggibub --- are you training to trial or just having fun

is the dog successful in finding your hide ?
your "track" may be too fresh -- too much skin rafts still suspended in the air so dog will employ easiest most logical method which would be air scenting or trailing.
for training purposes you have to know a bit about how scent works.
in the link to your old post you provided information about the environment - Texas (heat which will evaporate scent) , hard packed limestone which won't hold or produce scent . Scent is gasses from decaying skin rafts , gasses from decaying vegetation . Hard surface doesn't decay nor hold onto fallen rafts . find a patch of shorter grass , lay the track early in the morning when there is still moisture , let it age, let it be a blind track , with a scent pad so that you are following this specific scent , start with a straight track , keep it short . No matter what though the dog will work the easiest way -- as long as it is reliable and successful . trying to keep it really simple ---
there are some good books Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods by Susan Barwig ? Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

life is so easy when you have dogs bred in the bone for tracking --
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Last edited by carmspack; 01-06-2014 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
buggibub --- are you training to trial or just having fun

is the dog successful in finding your hide ?
your "track" may be too fresh -- too much skin rafts still suspended in the air so dog will employ easiest most logical method which would be air scenting or trailing.
for training purposes you have to know a bit about how scent works.
in the link to your old post you provided information about the environment - Texas (heat which will evaporate scent) , hard packed limestone which won't hold or produce scent . Scent is gasses from decaying skin rafts , gasses from decaying vegetation . Hard surface doesn't decay nor hold onto fallen rafts . find a patch of shorter grass , lay the track early in the morning when there is still moisture , let it age, let it be a blind track , with a scent pad so that you are following this specific scent , start with a straight track , keep it short . No matter what though the dog will work the easiest way -- as long as it is reliable and successful . trying to keep it really simple ---
there are some good books Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods by Susan Barwig ? Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

life is so easy when you have dogs bred in the bone for tracking --
thanks carmen!

we do it for fun- it's something that we got into a couple years ago and have kept up with, and he really enjoys anything that bonds us. in my experiences with my GSD, i've learned that I really want to get serious with tracking/wilderness SAR work with my next GSD. The Bubs doesn't have the drive for it.

from what you're describing, he's definitely air tracking. I'm going to try your suggestions and see what sort of production we get from him. i have a sch book, but not sure who authored it. time to revisit the scent work section, but it mostly discusses trial formats.


thanks so much!
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think we've had a breakthrough. Gypsy has figured out that the food is in a straight line where my feet are and not just one place. Hah.

I started out this week with just *really, really* easy baited tracks with a treat every step, only five to ten steps in length. Now she is doing 20 ft tracks with the treats spaced every 3-5 steps. She is a funny girl- she skips most of the food drops in order to get to the glove faster, or maybe she doesn't find all of them. I used a black glove in a dark field. The grass was really wet and frosty and there was no wind so it was really easy to lay tracks tonight. I know this seems simple but it was a struggle to get this dog to even realize there was food on the ground unless I pointed to it. She is just very handler-oriented and doesn't want to do the wrong thing.

I'm sure we'll learn a lot from our instructor. I really like her method- you take the class and then you get a punch card for eight tracking sessions with her, then she pairs you up with a different person in the AKC club who is more experienced every weekend for practice.

As a side note, I also joined the local SAR group so I can help the K9 unit with practice. Ironically, they practice with the AKC club so I can do both on the same day. Really great group of people and I can't wait to watch and learn.
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