Do you use serpentines? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Do you use serpentines?

Another thread got me re-thinking serpentines.

I remember trying to teach them maybe 6-8 months ago but all it did was make my dog hectic...

I was wondering:
1. Do you use serpentines? If so, why? What is the benefit?
2. When do you teach serpentines?
3. How do you teach serpentines?

Thanks in advance everyone!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 01:47 PM
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I tried them a while back. The problem I found was it is too hard to tell where the track is and thus know whether the dog is tracking correctly. With straight lines I can tell exactly where the track is to a high degree of accuracy. I think it is harder for a dog to make a straight line if it is not using its nose, just as it is hard for a human/dog to actually walk a straight line, so I don't think the straightness is a problem in tracking. To get a reliable idea of where the serpentine track is laid would require a lot of marker flags.

I think you can do essentially the same with gently rounded corners. However I think it is really better for the dog to experience and deal with the abrupt loss of scent in one direction. IMO the biggest problem in corner training is that dogs are rushed through it.

If I were to choose another method I'd rather go for dragging a scent marker along the track. Some members in our club use wet cat food in a stocking, dragged between the track layers legs.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 03:49 PM
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I tried them with a couple of dogs along with baiting every footstep. This is how I started the dogs. I didn't care for the results. Now I may throw one into a regular track since there are curves and 1/2 circles in the FH2. Yes, you do need to know where your track is located, but you should anyhow. What they can do is slow the dog down. Dogs that do a lot of long straight legs tend to coast until they lose scent, then they search for the corner. Or you have dogs that hit a corner and speed up. Serpentines can increase intensity and make the dog more careful.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
Yes, you do need to know where your track is located, but you should anyhow.
Not trying to be smart-assed, but how do you know exactly where a curving track is if there is no visible indicators on the ground?

With straight lines I use two objects in the distance, far and farther away, as long as I can keep the two aligned I can walk any surface with very good accuracy. Same with corners, I start my corner at a point where I have two objects aligned in the distance at roughly 90 degrees from current direction.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 06:44 PM
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Generally when I have done serpentines it is in conditions where I can see my footprints. Some of my club members use chalk to mark parts of the curve. With my more advanced dogs I use the natural markers like you do for where I start the curve, the apex of the curve, and where I end the curve.

BTW, I was picking on you, but this is a huge issue for many people when they track.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 06:57 PM
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I tried chalk with Aiden. He started indicating the marks on the ground..

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 07:09 PM
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Supposedly the blue chalk (I think that is what it is) doesn't cause that problem. I have never used chalk. Some people use metal washers with the plastic tape on them and then throw them off of the track a bit so they can see the marker but the dog can't.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 07:30 PM
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When Karlo was young, I did serpentines but now only do them if space is limited. Lately the tracking conditions have been so dry, I never see my footsteps, let alone the track! I will count paces or use natural markers for turns. I should add some washers to my tracking tools, too often I think my turn is where it isn't or Karlo will have over shot it, then cast his way back to the track. Not a good way to train!

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 10:35 PM
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I don't do them now since I often can't see the track and if I *can* see my track easily (because of the cover and conditions) then I'm wanting to work on corners in those conditions and not lay serpentine tracks. I did do some serpentine tracks with Nikon at my old house when he was a puppy. I could fit a SchH1 length track in my own yard if it was a creative track.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayoitzrimz View Post
1. Do you use serpentines? If so, why? What is the benefit?2. When do you teach serpentines?
I use them with an experienced dog that is loosing intensity due to boredom. I also use them on young dogs that are naturally very fast trackers. But I stretch the "S" out so that it's a softer curve. With the soft curve the dog can learn that this is not a scented straight line sprint till the scent ends. I can add the soft S before I train the dog how to do the corners properly.


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3. How do you teach serpentines?
I don't "teach" them. It's just a part of regular tracking. I think if you have to trian the dog to do serpentines then he's not ready for them.
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