Observation- GSD vs. Non - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-30-2013, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Observation- GSD vs. Non

I will preface this with the following: I love scent work, but my GSD has low prey-drive, so for him it's just a fun, rewarding way to bond with me... although when he is motivated, he is very, very good at it.

We have a miniature schnoodle and of course, a GSD. In our scent work training and exercises, I've noticed that the schnoodle prefers to just bury his head down and follow a scent in typical terrier fashion... Erratic would be an understatement, however he eventually gets to the goal (object/treat/person) about 80% of the time.

Our shepherd however, is very calculated in his approach, and what I want to figure out is if he air-tracks or if he just hones in more quickly and knows exactly where he is going. When we give him the command to "find" he just goes. There is no pause to sniff the ground or the wind, he really only puts his nose down when he's within 20 feet of the target and when he's "zoned" he'll find the target nearly 100% of the time directly, no circling, no looking around, no nose down- he just gets there... but he is lazy and sometimes just doesn't want to do it even though he is very happy when he's in work mode.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with tracking GSDs vs non-GSDs, and if so, what body language differences have you noted between the breeds? Also, can anyone lend a suggestion as to what processes my GSD is going through mentally while tracking? Is he really just air tracking, and if so, how do I redirect the air tracking to a more focused scent-work approach?

Feedback is appreciated!
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm still pretty new to tracking, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

My mutt is overall higher drive than my GSD.

Your GSD sounds like he air-scenting, and zoning in on a scent cone, rather than actually tracking.

Are you baiting your tracks? I've found with both my dogs that starting out with baited tracks really helped. I still bait the GSD's tracks, but now the mutt only gets treats when she indicates an article.

I haven't started doing scentwork with my girls yet, so I don't know how they will respond, but I'd be willing to bet the mutt will also be the more motivated and driven of the two.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buggibub View Post
I will preface this with the following: I love scent work, but my GSD has low prey-drive, so for him it's just a fun, rewarding way to bond with me... although when he is motivated, he is very, very good at it.

We have a miniature schnoodle and of course, a GSD. In our scent work training and exercises, I've noticed that the schnoodle prefers to just bury his head down and follow a scent in typical terrier fashion... Erratic would be an understatement, however he eventually gets to the goal (object/treat/person) about 80% of the time.

Our shepherd however, is very calculated in his approach, and what I want to figure out is if he air-tracks or if he just hones in more quickly and knows exactly where he is going. When we give him the command to "find" he just goes. There is no pause to sniff the ground or the wind, he really only puts his nose down when he's within 20 feet of the target and when he's "zoned" he'll find the target nearly 100% of the time directly, no circling, no looking around, no nose down- he just gets there... but he is lazy and sometimes just doesn't want to do it even though he is very happy when he's in work mode.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with tracking GSDs vs non-GSDs, and if so, what body language differences have you noted between the breeds? Also, can anyone lend a suggestion as to what processes my GSD is going through mentally while tracking? Is he really just air tracking, and if so, how do I redirect the air tracking to a more focused scent-work approach?

Feedback is appreciated!
You fail to describe the training scenario at all. Are you foot step tracking, trailing, or doing Nosework?

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Old 01-02-2014, 09:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah sorry David.

Setting- Typical Rugged Texas Hill Country, so lots of limestone cropping, semi-dry to dry creeks, mostly cedar and juniper foresting.

I have been using their favorite stuffed animals and my girlfriend as focus object. I know it's flawed, but when it's just me, I will take the object and hide it somewhere in the woods within a 3-5 minute walk in and out, so the dogs are probably just following my scent.

I guess that means we are foot step tracking?

Could you elaborate more on the three?
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoRose View Post
I'm still pretty new to tracking, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

My mutt is overall higher drive than my GSD.

Your GSD sounds like he air-scenting, and zoning in on a scent cone, rather than actually tracking.

Are you baiting your tracks? I've found with both my dogs that starting out with baited tracks really helped. I still bait the GSD's tracks, but now the mutt only gets treats when she indicates an article.

I haven't started doing scentwork with my girls yet, so I don't know how they will respond, but I'd be willing to bet the mutt will also be the more motivated and driven of the two.
We haven't baited. We started our tracking with the dog learning the "go find" command with someone that is within close-up visual range (15-20 feet), and then worked our way to non-visual, 5-7 minutes into the woods and then command to "go find." My shepherd is not really treat-oriented, but rather gushes over physical praise.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So then another questions going along with this is how often will a tracking dog pick a scent up in water such as a stream? Can't they all air-track just as easily as tracking if they aren't too far behind a moving object or if the object is inanimate?
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