Teaching corners. why no food ON the corner? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Teaching corners. why no food ON the corner?

Hey, so I was being nostalgic and remembered how we started tracking with my dog when he was a puppy. I remembered teaching him corners and the trainer had me basically put food on every footstep up to last footstep before the corner, make the corner, then continue with food.

He said never to put food actually ON the corner because it will cause problems later on. Fast forward a bit, and I'm in a new club, and a totally different TD said the same thing to a person starting out with corners...

I was wondering, is that common? And what is the reason for not baiting the corners themselves? If someone can elaborate a bit, that would be great!

It is random, we were working on corners a long long time ago, but I am gearing up for my next puppy so it would be nice to have this information in my head
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 08:31 AM
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Do you feed your dog a treat for a sit when all he did was lower his rear? No. You reward after they figure out and overcome it.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 08:45 AM
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there is a saying ....

the only thing 2 dog trainers can agree on is that the 3rd trainer is wrong

There was even a tee shirt with that saying...

I have been told both ways by different people.....one was T Floyd...another was a K9 officer who had many Sch3s to his credit.....lol can't remember who said which tho! But both ways have their pros and cons I guess.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 4TheDawgies View Post
Do you feed your dog a treat for a sit when all he did was lower his rear? No. You reward after they figure out and overcome it.
No, but during the luring phase you would feed him constantly while he's in proper position no (ex: teaching muscle memory for the head up position and such)? So there are two sides to every coin. I would think the same though, that you let the dog figure it out - at which point he might lose confidence a bit but take his best guess at the time (which is follow the disturbed ground). Then he gets food as affirmation that yes, this is what I want you to do...

Lee, can you expand a little bit? I am actually hoping to hear what you think specifically along with some other members of this forum. What was the reasoning behind each "method" and such...

Last edited by ayoitzrimz; 12-21-2012 at 09:21 AM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 11:16 AM
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There are lots of ways to train things but I think what most people struggle with, is knowing what they are training while in the process of training something else. In that regard, where you place the food could be teaching a behavior you do not want on the corners, while trying to train the corners. So, it is probably a case, where those trainers are addressing that aspect. I am kind of wondering why you didn't ask them why they think this. I always encourage people to ask why. That is how you learn and the answer, many times, addresses more than just that one training situation. It also has a way of making the teachers, better at it. They should be able to tell you why.

As for corners, I use food BUT that depends on how I have laid the "corner". Meaning, I do not start out laying 90 degree angles. The corner has more steps than one we see in a trial,( or used to anyway, I think that has been changed to be easier now), so, food in every step is not quite the same and is certainly not the same as if you put food in the last step of the first leg.

There are a number of things to consider when you are training your dog in tracking. The conditions, height of the grass, wind , humidity and so on. A piece of food in the conditions I track in, ( dry dirt and dry conditions), does not create the same amount of scent as a piece of food placed in wet grass in humid conditions. Those situations tend to create a bigger area for the dog to work through. The food kind of creates a cloud of scent. So, if you put food on a corner, the dog is there working through all that scent, checking right and left etc, which would teach the dog a behavior that SchH does not reward. The wind , ( even very small amounts), can move that scent to the right when the corner is going left and so on.

One thing that works rather well is this. Before you train the corners, make sure the dog can track. Meaning, he is not just there following one piece of food after the other. He should be able to follow the track without huge amounts of help. Once this is accomplished, you can try laying a bit more food right before the corner. This has the effect of making the dog more interested in the track and it is then more likely he will not shoot past it.

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Last edited by Vandal; 12-21-2012 at 11:18 AM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 11:17 AM
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I've used a variation. Stomp the (smelly) treat into the ground at the corner, then lift the treat and drop on track about 5 steps past the corner. The scent of the treat on your shoe helps navigate the dog around the corner.

I find that depending on the treat, the dog can get distracted by digging at/eating the treat. IIRC the way I was told to teach surface changes was to make the food drop a couple of paces after the terrain change. This motivates the dog that they are on the right track.

It seem to make sense to me to have the treat near but after the problem area.

Personally I would (start corners by) triple laying the first 5 paces after the corner, with a treat at the 5 pace mark (always laying the leg after the corner into the wind so the scent is blowing right up the dogs nose). If the dog can't figure this out I might do the smelly treat squash/move I mentioned above.

Last edited by pfitzpa1; 12-21-2012 at 11:23 AM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 11:46 AM
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I have always taught corners by triple laying them with food before and then after the corner to draw the dog around the corner and reward it for being correct. Then the food would continue after the corner. This helped them learn what to do if they lost scent and helped them learn to work corners.

I have done things a bit differently with Elena. She is probably the most gifted tracking dog I have owned since Tara (and I have owned some excellent tracking dogs). I actually didn't start showing her trial type corners until recently. She would see arcs, curves, serpentines, straight legs and I would bait all and then eventually some of the foot steps. When I introduced the trial type corners I would have a few steps before baited, make my corner and then bait a few steps after. Because she had learned to just follow the track she noticed the corners went around and was rewarded for the nice tight corner. Now I don't always bait right before the corner, but always after (even my advanced dogs will have a couple of food drops after at least some of the corners since it keeps them from flying down the leg after the corner). I am now mixing things up with trial corners and normal walking corners. This is what I have done with her.

My first dog I actually didn't start corners until she was tracking 100 pace straight legs. I had a heck of time teaching her that the track might turn. I was in snow and she would try to go straight. Since then I have started corners, curves, etc almost immediately.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 01:14 PM
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I've put food on corners and not on corners, just depends on the ground cover, wind, type of corner (am I stomping a gentle curve or doing a 3-step 90 degree or a step off?), what type of challenge I'm trying to present to my dog on that particular track, how I've been rewarding him throughout that same track, etc.

When I've trained corners (Nikon, Kenya, and Pan), I just put as much food on them as the dog is already getting elsewhere on the track, so every 3-5 footsteps or so is probably where the dog is in training when I want to start doing corners. I've been told I lay pretty tight corners, usually 3 steps and 90 degrees but that's how I lay them so I try to be consistent and not make the corner feel/smell differently to the dog than the rest of the track, but again it depends on the cover, the wind, ants, etc.

Once Nikon knew corners I usually put a handful of food near the start of the corner and then another handful after the corner and a few paces into the next leg. Now this can help or hurt...it's more for *me* so the dog pauses to eat the food and I know where my corner is so I can help if I need to, but because the dog pauses you risk the nose shifting around and you kind of break up following the track so he might have to sniff out the corner after eating the snack. In training I am OK with that because it's just another way to proof the dog finding the track and staying on it, not just following the line he thinks the track will go. Even though it's not perfect I don't mind seeing my dog pause and have to check himself to stay on the track. Closer to a trial I would not be laying corners like that though, no food heading into the corner or on it, only food (or an article which is a chance to stop and get food) after making the turn and heading into the next leg.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 12:11 AM
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Well for starting a pup we use the below steps,

1. Scent pads till pup wants to rush to them and has to be pulled away from them.
2. 5-10 pace track between scent pads with 100% food.
3. Progress to 100 paces with 100% food including on turns (S turns)
4. Reduce food percentage increase track length (vary food placement and percentage based on dog)
5. Train articles
6. Get ready to trial

Typically takes 150-300 tracks to get to 6.

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