Schutzhund Tracking - Issues/Upcoming Trial - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Schutzhund Tracking - Issues/Upcoming Trial

Hello,

Let me preface that Leo will be 3 years old in November but we started Schutzhund about a year and a half ago. He is NOT food driven at all, he could care less if he eats or not... At the beginning of the summer/mid summer he was doing very well tracking.

However, the last couple of weeks his tracking has been nothing short of awful, which is concerning because we have an IPO 1 trial coming up at the end of October. He doesn't take it seriously, he picks his head up/looks around, wanders off the track, his nose isn't to the ground, he needs to be constantly restarted and even then he doesn't really buckle down to do the work. Also, he's been struggling around certain corners (I put food about 5-7 paces after a turn). It's extremely frustrating.

My only guess for why he's doing it is because I started limiting the amount of food on the track and usually 2/5 legs do not have food on them... I figured it was a good move since I need to taper off the food since the trial is soon. I have no idea what to do, besides increasing the food again and making sure he's super hungry when he tracks.

I would really appreciate any feedback! Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 05:54 PM
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what do you reward him with at the articles/end of track...sometimes a toy will be more motivational than food, especially if there are ants on the bait or the dog isn't high in food drive. I used a flirtpole with a fox tail on the end of it on more than a few of Karlo's tracks(he will not take food if ants are all over it, and they make him say F this. Luckily he does like to track, yet he isn't doing it for food, but just to track. Articles are an annoyance.
I would change up your plan a bit, and maybe track less often after really getting him fired up for a high value reward. Less is more with some dogs. Food should not be the motivator, IMO...dogs have a keen nose, they don't need it if there are other reasons to track.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 07:01 PM
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He eats on the track with a high value reward at the articles and maybe at the end (depending on the dog). He doesn't track, he doesn't eat. This is not my ideal way to do things, but sometimes this is what a dog needs.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 07:03 PM
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Also, vary how much food you are using and where you are using it. Keep him guessing. Sometimes no food at the start and part way out on the first leg, sometimes none on the last leg or second leg, etc.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 07:43 PM
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If a dog isn't food driven, how would feeding only on the track give the dog the motivation to track? (rawfed is my issue,my older dog is not going to track better if he's food deprived. )
The sense of smell and reason to 'find it'could be a better plan to motivate.
I have a hugely food driven pup that is a tracking machine and a dog that loves to track without a food drop....the dog that loves to track for the scent alone, will track through the handler errors/or handler issue, is probably a better tracker, though the scores won't reflect it. The food tracker will probably do well, if we can fade the bait...it scares me a bit! I don't want hectic "what ifs" when the food is absent.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 07:59 PM
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That is where I get a bit confused... Please bare with me ... I totally understand the sport side of tracking, however, we don't know where the scent is the dog does.. Why a dog should be dinged in score for lifting his nose if necessary or not performing in the 'ideal' posture/frame/look confuses me.. If the dog does the track and locates the person (minus obvious air scenting by ranging) by following the track but even a few feet off the track, gets the turns etc and is happy and forward moving, why dock them points? Isn't that a more natural 'real world' scenario?

I do SAR tracking /trailing and have never done competitive tracking so I am naive to the 'whys' a dog has to have its nose glued to the track (which is natural if the scent is there but that is not always the case with scent). That 'image' of what we as humans expect ends up making a lot of potentially good tracking dogs forced into a mold they don't like (like your dog Onyx that gets dinged for not having proper for or sharp turns) and end up not tracking due to the rigid way they are made to do it... Again, I'm not bashing it, just trying to understand the why behind the need to have the dogs nose so deep on the ground..

Sorry if I hijacked your thread.. I thought maybe an answer might come in understanding the why's..
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hineni7 View Post
That is where I get a bit confused... Please bare with me ... I totally understand the sport side of tracking, however, we don't know where the scent is the dog does.. Why a dog should be dinged in score for lifting his nose if necessary or not performing in the 'ideal' posture/frame/look confuses me.. If the dog does the track and locates the person (minus obvious air scenting by ranging) by following the track but even a few feet off the track, gets the turns etc and is happy and forward moving, why dock them points? Isn't that a more natural 'real world' scenario?

I do SAR tracking /trailing and have never done competitive tracking so I am naive to the 'whys' a dog has to have its nose glued to the track (which is natural if the scent is there but that is not always the case with scent). That 'image' of what we as humans expect ends up making a lot of potentially good tracking dogs forced into a mold they don't like (like your dog Onyx that gets dinged for not having proper for or sharp turns) and end up not tracking due to the rigid way they are made to do it... Again, I'm not bashing it, just trying to understand the why behind the need to have the dogs nose so deep on the ground..

Sorry if I hijacked your thread.. I thought maybe an answer might come in understanding the why's..

There is no good explanation. Trust me. Coming from SAR myself, sport tracking is very very odd. It's not about finding a person. At all. I don't get it half the time, I just train to the rules. LOL.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 08:07 PM
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IPO is completely obedience based, deep nose and footprint to footprint track is judged...no air scenting or air check allowed, points are taken. It isn't 'natural' but all based about obedience to the track and not really about the dogs natural instinct., IMO. I WILL NEVER bang on Karlo for this...he is a great tracking dog, even if he will never be on the podium, he knows a track and will always do what it takes to find 'it' even though it is just a ball, just a floppy or just a fox tail.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 09-05-2015 at 08:09 PM.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 08:27 PM
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Funny (sad) how we can take one of the dogs most amazing skills and turn it into a spectator sport that we think a dog should do or look like while doing it... I get the obedience side, but if the dog tracks and finds whatever object FST or otherwise (outside of air scenting and ranging) that is obedience, right? ;o)... gsdsar - I bet it is hard coming back from SAR to sport tracking! Pretty awesome you made the change... Not sure I could (my mind is practical in its thinking and while I respect big time those that can do this form of tracking and excel, I don't think I could do it.. Maybe the AKC tracking as that is more trailing.. Lol)...

Thanks for the answers Onyx and gsdsar! Unfortunately, it didn't help me think of am answer or something to try with the OP's dog.. Outside of force tracking (which it is nice to hear you don't do Onyx ), how does one encourage a dog who isn't food motivated...? It isn't a natural thing for the dog to do (keep their nose where the scent might not be and go slow FST).. It isn't like teaching a sit or down command as their is forward movement, turns, etc.. So a proper frame is necessary while the dog scents.. But if the food motivation is gone and the dog can't break from lest it be point deducted, toys won't help, faster won't help... Huh...

Has the OP tried cat food or dried lung or liver as a treat? Something SOOOO tasty the non food motivated dog still wants to eat it?
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Let me preface that Leo will be 3 years old in November but we started Schutzhund about a year and a half ago. He is NOT food driven at all, he could care less if he eats or not... At the beginning of the summer/mid summer he was doing very well tracking.

However, the last couple of weeks his tracking has been nothing short of awful,
My question would be, if he has been tracking very well up until a couple of weeks ago.. What has changed?? And if he's not food driven, how did you start him in tracking for the last year and a half??

I would look back and try to figure out what happened? And maybe back up from there?


Sometimes putting them up for a couple weeks and then bringing them back out can erase a negative that may have happened..

Leesa~

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