Circling at the Corners - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Circling at the Corners

Ok, I tried to think of a topic that people could answer and not get tense about. Since it's the holidays, everyone is a bit on edge already. No one needs to offer advice and I will try to keep the words really simple so Joker won't get hot under his blue collar.

I have been observing some people tracking their dogs lately and after watching some different ways that people allow their dogs to work corners, I thought I would ask these questions.

When you are training your dog and he comes to a corner, do you allow your dog to cirlce and look or do you insist that he is very accurate, making an almost exact right or left turn? Why?
If he is fairly experienced and he passes the corner, do you correct him, or hold him there until he finds it ?


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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 09:06 PM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Thank you Anne, this is of specific interest to me.....maybe later in the thread I will share, but now I would prefer to lurk and learn.

Edit: Even in a short post, I spell something wrong!


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 09:31 PM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Anne,

Excellent topic.

I think there are problems and advantages with both. If the dog is always corrected for passing a corner, or coming slightly off the track or other minor infractions then the dog will be too worried to try to figure out the track if he runs into problems.

On the other hand if you allow the dog too much freedom to work the track as he wants to then you end up with a dog that does exactly that. He will lack precision. This dog is less likely to fail but also not likey to "V".


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Thank you Art...now....if you will.....please answer the questions.


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 10:42 PM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Sorry, the question is how do I do it? As a puppy I let the dog kind of figure out the track; there is a lot of food and I help him when he needs it. As he gets a little older I insist that he is very precise on the corners, at the articles, and the dog learns that there are consequences for being sloppy in his work. He also learns that he must go forward to the articles and that quiting is not an option. When he knows this I make the dog "happy" to track again. I allow him more freedom to figure out difficult sections so that he does not shutdown, but I try not to let the dog get "too happy", if he does I can go back to some of the things he learned in the "precise stage" and balance this.
So to answer the question, what I allow the dog to do is dependent on where the dog is in training and what I am working on with him.


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 10:48 PM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Puppies/young dogs I make the corners so easy that they rarely miss them except when it is very windy. Then I help them so they don't make much of a mistake. Older dogs I actually allow mistakes within reason. I want my dogs to learn how to calmly refind a track when they have lost scent. In doing this I am also learning to read my dog. To reward my dog for finding a corner I usually have a hidden food drop maybe right after, a food drop a little ways down the track after the corner or an article. Sometimes I also just use praise. Depends on the level of the dog. The more advanced my dog the more I might use a verbal corrections "eh" if they get off the track too much. I want them to search tightly to the track, yet still know what to do if they totally lose scent (saved me on my SchH2).

Why? I think they need to understand what to do if they lose scent and not panic. I want a tight pretty "V" track just like most competitors. I have decided, though, that I would rather have a dog that can consistently work even the hardest tracks than one who V's some days and gets 0 when the conditions aren't perfect.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-18-2009, 11:19 PM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Quote:
Originally Posted By: VandalOk, I tried to think of a topic that people could answer and not get tense about. Since it's the holidays, everyone is a bit on edge already. No one needs to offer advice and I will try to keep the words really simple so Joker won't get hot under his blue collar.

I have been observing some people tracking their dogs lately and after watching some different ways that people allow their dogs to work corners, I thought I would ask these questions.

When you are training your dog and he comes to a corner, do you allow your dog to cirlce and look or do you insist that he is very accurate, making an almost exact right or left turn? Why?
If he is fairly experienced and he passes the corner, do you correct him, or hold him there until he finds it ?
Haha simple is good for me and my dog no Ph.D's needed for my tracking program.
In the learning stages I would let him circle and figure it out as he progressed I would block him or "hold him".
Once his foundation was strong enough and he was strong enough I use force to make perfect everything. Now at the corners at least at this point I allow him to circle and find it seldom dose he go a dog length past he will usually back up and check and make his turn.
But we cant make V with this sort of a corner my dog can track he just got to the corner so what happened I think he wasn't concentrating hard enough. So at this point with him I don't want to put pressure on the corner it self and screw up the act of changing direction.
So to make perfect I use pressure on the track itself which causes him to concentrate very hard at what he is supposed to be doing when he is concentrating very hard he doesnt shoot corners and he will paint them like he's on rails.
He's a really nice natural tracker it would a wast to not to try and make perfect.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Circling at the Corners

I guess everyone is just running straight tracks?



This is what I do. Like Lisa, I make the first corners easy and more like a curve than 90 degree. When the dog masters that I gradually make them tighter.
From the beginning, I lay the straight part of the track in a way that will cue the dog to the fact that the track has stopped and is now headed in another direction. That has to do with the length of stride and how I walk. Once I make the turn tighter, my dogs will usually get to the corner and maybe pass by a neck and then indicate in some way that the track is not there. At that point, I praise the dog for indicating that and then encourage the dog to show me where the track went by saying, "where is it?". I hold the dog from making forward movement and once he finds which way the track goes, I praise him quietly again and allow him to advance down that leg. The reason I do this is to build drive and confidence on the corner vs making stress where the dog will get frantic and not be able to "think". Trials are different than training and for me, I want the dog's drive to go up a little when he gets lost .

Eventually, when the dog is really good at corners, I will jump off and start the track again about two feet from the corner so the dog has to look a bit harder for it. Same scenario where I hold the dog there if I need to but by then, I usually don't have to do that much.

I have used compulsion in years past and will still get on my dogs if they quit. However, I have not corrected my dogs on corners for years and years now. That is because I see so many dogs lose drive there and display all kinds of stress behaviors when I have walked with others on the track. I still remember one dog years ago. I was walking with the handler and the dog just barely passed the corner and then indicated that the track was gone. Whammo, big correction from the handler and the dog just sort of melted there. We had a little discussion and then laid another track. When he got to the corner and indicated, I told the handler to praise him, WHAT a difference in that dog. The body language was completely different and what had previously taken him about 30 seconds to find, only took about 3 seconds and he was on his way down the second leg. Even the handler could see it and while I am not being sarcastic, I will say I am constantly amazed at how much people do NOT see in their dogs when they are tracking with them. They also do not seem to realize that the dog is in a lower state of drive and therefore, the little things the handler does there has a much larger effect than the other two phases.

Ok, anyone else?


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 11:52 AM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

Quote:
Originally Posted By: VandalI guess everyone is just running straight tracks?
At this point... pretty much
As a real newbie in tracking, I am reading, talking to people, and then trying stuff.
I have been putting footsteps closer together as I approach a turn, and doing a 90 degree turn with a food drop after. As he turns, I verbally praise. I am still close to him, just right behind.
So far that is working. But I am working with a VERY intense young dog who loves, loves, loves to use his nose.
So I may just be lucking out
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 12:21 PM
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Re: Circling at the Corners

With the very first dog I tracked I did a lot of straight tracks and when she was doing these well I introduced corners. She had a VERY difficult time figuring out that the track turned. Funny thing is that I was tracking in snow. She could see the track, but she KNEW the track had to go straight. I now introduce corners pretty much right away.

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