Help with corners! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Help with corners!

I think it's time for me to start asking my dog for a little more precision in his tracking. I have been letting him learn how to work through the pressure of over-shooting or circling at a corner, but now that I'm working towards an IPO2, I think I want him to be a little more clear and precise.

I'm wondering how you guys would train for this. I can't ever really put too much pressure on him, as he is very handler sensitive. He has a very rhythmic pattern and is very consistent on the track, until he gets to corners. He has learned not to panic if he loses or over-shoots the corner and always works through it and finds it, but I want him to start actually tracking the corners.

HELP

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 12:10 PM
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I would try a few things. Article corners where there is an article just before or just after the corner can help some dogs. Making the corners easier for awhile and then putting bait right after the corner to reward them for making the corner. You could also work serpentines to help him learn to increase intensity and his confidence. Bait just before and just after. Bait all the way through the turn. Make a true 90 degree corner so there is a very abrupt loss of scent. Track into the wind.

Sometimes I think the dogs start to coast and lose intensity on straight legs and then they miss the corners. You could also do tracks with more corners while making the corners easy.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
I would try a few things. Article corners where there is an article just before or just after the corner can help some dogs. Making the corners easier for awhile and then putting bait right after the corner to reward them for making the corner. You could also work serpentines to help him learn to increase intensity and his confidence. Bait just before and just after. Bait all the way through the turn. Make a true 90 degree corner so there is a very abrupt loss of scent. Track into the wind.

Sometimes I think the dogs start to coast and lose intensity on straight legs and then they miss the corners. You could also do tracks with more corners while making the corners easy.
Great suggestions. I'll be trying them all. Thank you so much!

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 12:34 PM
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Couple of suggestions from someone who has gone through the same thing.

* YMMV may vary on this
Lay straight track. Every 15 paces or so take a step to the right (like a side step, while still facing and continuing to lay the track in the same direction). Do this about 4 times on the straight track. (so you have essentially 4 very short corners in a staggered line)
Do this for several tracking sessions.

I did the above based on a recommendation, I'm not sure if it helped but her corners have really improved a lot recently.

* Triple lay the corner for at least 5 paces.
Forward 5, back 5, forward 5.

I think the above had the greatest impact with my dog.

* drop a piece of meat (something sticky) at the last step before the corner, stomp on it with your foot then lay the corner ( after about 5-10 paces, peel the piece of meat of your boot and drop on track)

I tried the above a few times but the my dog started cutting corners to get to the meat faster.



From what I understand, if a dog is overshooting corners then his training has gone too fast. My suggestion is to go back to triple laying the corners, even if you have to go back to single corners with the second leg into the wind. Once your dog can take every corner precisely phase out the triple laying.

I went back to very basic (triple laid) corners for about 3 weeks (9 tracking days) and this greatly improved my dogs cornering.

Patience will pay off.

Last edited by pfitzpa1; 06-15-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfitzpa1 View Post
Couple of suggestions from someone who has gone through the same thing.

* YMMV may vary on this
Lay straight track. Every 15 paces or so take a step to the right (like a side step, while still facing and continuing to lay the track in the same direction). Do this about 4 times on the straight track. (so you have essentially 4 very short corners in a staggered line)
Do this for several tracking sessions.

I did the above based on a recommendation, I'm not sure if it helped but her corners have really improved a lot recently.

* Triple lay the corner for at least 5 paces.
Forward 5, back 5, forward 5.

I think the above had the greatest impact with my dog.

* drop a piece of meat (something sticky) at the last step before the corner, stomp on it with your foot then lay the corner ( after about 5-10 paces, peel the piece of meat of your boot and drop on track)

I tried the above a few times but the my dog started cutting corners to get to the meat faster.



From what I understand, if a dog is overshooting corners then his training has gone too fast. My suggestion is to go back to triple laying the corners, even if you have to go back to single corners with the second leg into the wind. Once your dog can take every corner precisely phase out the triple laying.

I went back to very basic (triple laid) corners for about 3 weeks (9 tracking days) and this greatly improved my dogs cornering.

Thank you! I think you're right as far as training too fast. I think we worked a little too fast to get to the IPO1. Definitely a good idea to back track a little. Make it a little easier to increase his confidence and intensity. Sounds like a plan!

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Update from this AM. I laid a track for Aiden with heavily laid step-off corners. I buried a tiny piece of food at each step off. He started the track much faster than he usually does (after a 2 week vacation, I kind of expected it), and he flew over the first corner. I held him there until he found the step-off. He slowed a little for the second, but still wasn't really searching as intensely as I'd like. I held him back again and he found it much quicker. The last 3 turns were great. I think he started to realize that if it's not directly in front of him, he needs to check all sides rather than keep trucking forward in hopes that it will show up.

I'm hoping that doing this consistently will get him in the routine of searching for the corners with more intensity. We did a lot of work with article indication and I think it got him a little crazed and hectic to just find the articles rather than to actually track the scent.

Thanks again for all your suggestions!

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 04:01 PM
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I have a corner problem with Nikon. He tends to do exactly as Lisa says. A trial type track is pretty easy for a dog (unless the conditions are bad, but here they often aren't bad) because of all the long stretches with nothing happening on the track. Nikon starts to coast, misses the corner, and luckily his behavior immediately changes. So even though he sometimes overshoots the corner, at least I *know* where the corner was because his behavior changes when he's off the track (tail comes up, he starts looking more anxious, casting quickly back and forth). I'm not really sure the best way to fix this problem but when I'm preparing for a trial I try to give Nikon some variety. When we track during the week, the tracks are more complex for two reason 1) usually the conditions are easy (mowed grass, often damp) so I can put lots of "stuff" into a track without over-challenging the dog with really dry or weird ground cover, and 2) we have less room to worth with, so often I need 5+ corners just to fit a SchH1 length track. Then at club training I tend to lay or have someone else lay a longer trial-style track where we work on the long, boring stretches. For me the biggest struggle with Nikon's tracking is finding that balance. Keeping him challenged but also not doing *so* many corners and articles that during a trial track he falls apart because it's so different even if it's easy.
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