Teaching my dog how to track. Am I doing this right? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 04-22-2014, 10:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Teaching my dog how to track. Am I doing this right?

I have this Remington canvas dummy: http://media.midwayusa.com/productim...176/176140.jpg

I had it packed away from the winter and when I pulled it out last night it was covered in mould :/ I washed it in warm soapy water and I used a little bit of bleach. I hope that wasn't a mistake.

Anyways I have a bottle of quail scent, and this is some pretty potent stuff, even for me. What I do I spray several lines of the scent across the dummy, tie a rope through the loop and drag it across the yard. I'll usually hide is about 150 feet from the back door of my home. I put my dog in a room where he can't watch me through a window. I also try to switch up the locations a little bit, but there is only so much you can do in 2 acres. My dog usually finds the dummy incredibly fast.

Am I doing this properly? I've really wanted to get my dog into tracking formally, but I may have to do it on my own. I would appreciate any tips.

Do I need to replace the dummy?
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Same here

One of my girls loves the find it game and I do pretty much the same thing. I am sure we are screwing up. I am going to look for some tracking training help on the internet. I am sure there are some videos.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Formal tracking as in sport tracking or having your dog find quails for you?
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, since its not your scent, and the fact that its a powerful scent that even YOU can pick up, isn't truly tracking. There is a high likelihood that the dog can air scent the object from wherever you hide it (if its that powerful of a scent).

Many times you want them to follow footsteps because in a sport track situation they'll be following the footsteps left by someone. Dragging the toy across the yard leaves one complete trail and is quite different than having to figure out where footsteps are and following them.

Also, what is the reward? Is the dog rewarded by grabbing the toy? Is the toy enough reward for him? Or is he getting rewarded after he retrieves the toy? All of these are important to know if you want more information on tracking.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jocoyn View Post
Formal tracking as in sport tracking or having your dog find quails for you?
I don't hunt or really have any requirement to have a working breed. But knowing that it's very far from ideal to not give these dogs some sort of "job" to give them a sense of fulfilment, if nothing else. I would love to get into something that would involve my dog in some sort of working manner. I just don't know what that activity would be. A petstore clerk recommended the dummy and I sort of did my own thing with it, but I'm at a loss. I would like an activity that would be more than just a game in the yard.

I sort of just chose the "tracking" sub-forum because it's what I've tried so far.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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check out nosework, you don't need property and it is fairly easy to learn how to teach the dog scent discrimination.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
Well, since its not your scent, and the fact that its a powerful scent that even YOU can pick up, isn't truly tracking. There is a high likelihood that the dog can air scent the object from wherever you hide it (if its that powerful of a scent).

Many times you want them to follow footsteps because in a sport track situation they'll be following the footsteps left by someone. Dragging the toy across the yard leaves one complete trail and is quite different than having to figure out where footsteps are and following them.

Also, what is the reward? Is the dog rewarded by grabbing the toy? Is the toy enough reward for him? Or is he getting rewarded after he retrieves the toy? All of these are important to know if you want more information on tracking.
The reward is a few small bite sized treats.


Because they're small I give him 4-6. I honestly don't think he needs them because whenever I take him out he seems to be having so much fun. My judgement would be to say that they're not required.

What would be the alternative to using a bottled scent and a canvas drag? A vast majority of the time I'm alone with the dog, so it might be difficult to get a second person.

The yard is a fairly high traffic area. I'd imagine that would have a negative effect on the tracking. Would I need to go to a more secluded area?
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
check out nosework, you don't need property and it is fairly easy to learn how to teach the dog scent discrimination.
I was reading a little about nosework and tracking last night and I read that you can't really teach both to a single dog. Why is that? From an outsider's perspective they look pretty similar.

One thing that lead me towards tracking was that it seemed to involve more physical activity, which would be beneficial since I have such a high energy dog. That was just my impression from reading around the forum for a bit.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You'd like to have a spot where the scent isn't distorted by older scents. You'd be amazed how long the scent tends to stay in the ground and this can confuse your dog.

Most people start with themselves, as the dog knows that scent and then connects it to something good at the end. It's not very difficult to then transition your dog to different scents once it understands what its doing and you have a command trained for tracking.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Tracking and nosework are exercises that are more mental than physical. The dog needs to use the brain and the nose to decipher the scent(crushed vegetation or certain odor). You can train the dog in both as they are different types of work/indication.
There are different kinds of tracking/trailing as well. AKC type tracking is more natural for the dog. But training first in IPO style is recommmended if you want to do both, best to have the IPO foundation instilled before moving over to the AKC style. There are links that explain both in this thread:
tracking and nosework
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