"Casually" Training a Dog in Trailing? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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"Casually" Training a Dog in Trailing?

Hi, I've been looking around for info on this, and I've been having a heck of a time, I was hoping you guys might be able to help. Eventually (some years down the line, probably 5 at the very least) I want to get involved with SAR and train a trailing dog. In the mean time, however, I want to get to know more about the training involved and I'd like (if at all possible) to work casually with training my current dog to trail for fun. My problem has been that the only groups I'm coming across are either very serious, actual SAR organizations that wouldn't have the time to help train a dog that isn't actually going to do any work, or they are more casual, but the only groups I've seen like that work with tracking as opposed to trailing.

Does the type of training group I'm looking for even exist? More specifically, I'm in the south suburbs of Chicago. If it comes down to it, I can get books on the subject and play around with my dog in our backyard, but I'd really love to go to classes since it would be really great to give my dog something like that to do, to make him feel important. haha Once again, I want to stress that we'd only be doing this for fun and to help ME learn what to do for when I get a serious dog in the future. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you so much!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 12:45 AM
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I can tell you from my own experience that AKC tracking is amazing and fun sport. SAR trailing is totally different and is for saving lives, thus the intent MUST be serious by the nature of the work. The diciplines are totally different and a SAR team has limited resources for training team members themselves. If you want to start out I would contact a team near you and offer to support their efforts as a subject hiding for a trailing dog already working. There is always a need for subjects. In return you can ask to attend meetings to just listen and learn. There is a huge amount of data also available line for research on line and of course, books are always good.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 04:20 PM
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I think if you found a sport group that does AKC VST tracking you would build up a skillset that would help you with becoming a solid trailing dog handler. Still some differences but this is good stuff.

Between that, and possibly being involved as a victim/auxiliary member for a team may help you learn a lot. There is a LOT to be learned laying trails and watching dogs. Plus being involved already should open doors for you that may be hard to open when the time comes.

Sometimes it is hard to get onto a team because everyone wants to do "SAR" without realizing the commitment - already knowing you are not at that point right now should go a real long way with any team.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the replies. I would have gotten back sooner, but our internet's been down!

I do know there are areas around that do AKC tracking, and before I'd heard of trailing I thought of it as a good "just for fun" option. It's good to know that it would be a good start for me to learn, since the dog I'd be working with wouldn't ever actually be a rescue dog. I just wasn't sure about the skill set since you're asking different things of the dog. I'll also look into just volunteering my own time with a group, since I know there's one in my area. Thanks again!
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