Tracking /trailing dogs: working negatives - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Tracking /trailing dogs: working negatives

Hey everyone just was curious how many people work their scent discriminate dogs on negatives? I know it is important and have started my girl on short bouts of negative tracks. Cast her the length of her 30ft line, allow her to range a circle. When she questions where the trail/scent is I ask her to sit, praise her and then walk her to close to the actual trail, cast her again and let her take the actual trail and her find of the subject.

She isn't fully aware what negative space is or at least she isn't comfortable in it, yet. She is still green. But boy is it obvious when she hits the scent trail, lol her tail goes in a circle and she like bunny hops in the backend (especially if it is someone she likes).

I am just curious how many train negatives and if so, what variations do you use?
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post #2 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention this is for SAR, but for those that do tracking for IPO, or other titles I'm curious how or if you do it
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post #3 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Bump.... I find it hard to believe nobody in tracking or trailing doesn't work negatives... I'm really interested in others experience and methods... Speaking up!
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post #4 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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So I just finished a negative with Areli. She took the scent article and pulled hard but her normal tail pop and bunny hop in the hind end when she has the track was missing. She pulled and I let her cast about 45ft either way. Once I knew she did not have a track (she couldn't as my subject will lay the track down later today) and she was pulling hard to find it. I told her to sit and rewarded her. She was very confused and frustrated when told to go back in the car. I was going to work the negative with my other dog who I am working with as an area search dog but currently is scent discriminate, but she wouldn't load and he was amped to try....... So all I need to do is launch him in the wrong direction a bit and let him work some negative space. Once he comes back to me I will redeploy him on the correct path and let him have the find... Not quite what my plan is, as a negative should not have a find at the end, but next time I will just do one at a time Korea have help, lol)

I noticed a marked confusion in Areli. She is clingy right now, and directly after the negative exercise, I noticed she searched everywhere for a scent trail when we got home. So when she finds her subject later today, she should be pretty berserk about it finding her 'lost' subject, haha.
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post #5 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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An interesting thing happened working the positive... Normally, Areli hits the track so hard and fast I can barely keep up (until I get a harness for her I can't check her). After working the negative and having a 2hr break, when she worked the actual subject track ( the positive) she slowed about half as fast, meaning I jogged or jogged fast rather then a break neck sprint, lol! She took the scent and I could see a maturity coming... Very cool!
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post #6 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-27-2015, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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A funny hung happened after the last practice session with the pups. Areli had worked a negative earlier then several hours later a positive and found her subject quickly. I had her 'find' the car back (she long trotted pretty much straight to it and sat by it looking smug and proud, lol). I put her in and had Akivah work the track. Although I had the subject walk out another 4 minutes from previous spot. He is scent specific area search (and learning to be not discriminate as well). He did his search and outside of a quick potty break found his subject and even did a refund alert with my having to call him (good boy!).

So I walk back to car and let Areli out (who unbeknownst to me had decided my seat belt need not be in one piece any longer ) and let the two play. Areli IMMEDIATELY took the trail Akivah had just done and followed the old trail she had done (same subject) earlier and broke off where the new trail had been laid (for Akivah) and went to the tree my subject had hid behind for Akivah's turn!! I praised her and she kind of gave a shrug and a goofy smile then went and played with Akivah. It was like she was saying "I could have found her too. You can't trick me, ya know... Oh, by the way, your seat belt needs repair."

I am continually impressed with dogs sense of smell and humor!
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post #7 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-28-2015, 07:01 AM
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I have been gone for a week and there are not too many here. I do not work a trailing dog but know they do work negative trails. Some ask for a "negative indication" and others read the dog and accept that they did not commit as the negative. Working negatives are a big part of HRD and airscent work and we always try to have a positive to end the day.

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post #8 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-28-2015, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Hi jocoyn. Did you mean not a lot of SAR trailing dogs? Yes, area search dogs work a lot negative space, but since they usually aren't scent specific (just scenting for any human) they can't really get into too much trouble (unless they start 'crittering' or dinking around, lol). Trailing dogs that don't learn to work negatives can get unsure and take a person on a path of any scent if they can't find the scent they are after.

You are right about an alert or just being able to read if the dog is I'm negatives. This is the first few times I have worked negatives purposely and I am really liking the confidence and focus it brings to my pup.

Today, when I cast her away from the hot trail, she confidently cast herself about a 45ft circle until she ran into the track. I am lucky, she tends to be pretty easy to read when on the trail compared to working negatives.... Just wish she would slow down, haha!
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post #9 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-28-2015, 07:36 PM
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We only work air scent dogs so I have very limited exposure to trailing. I did some work with a blood hound handler, which was very interesting especially in urban settings, but most groups around this area (MD, VA, DC) are all air scent units. But I do read you thread
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post #10 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-28-2015, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Dinoblue, thanks for your reply I'm kind of surprised that your area would have mostly area search dogs as I would think urban/suburban areas would be pretty profuse (although I bet you have some GORGEOUS wilderness areas!). My gsd/malamute Akivah is working area (although I started him scent discriminate, so he is having to learn to find non specific too) and it is neat to watch the difference between the two dogs work. Areli (full GSD) works with her nose down (occasionally up if wind/scent requires it), Akivah works with head up (down on occasion if scent/wind requires it). Both find their subjects with purpose and joy, but watching Akivah range and cover so much territory (tongue lolling out in joy) and Areli staying so close to the path taken (tail twirling and butt bouncing hot on the trail) is amazing.... Different techniques accomplishing the same thing.. So cool!

Using the negatives I've noticed has already started to lock Areli down on a path. She always has been confident on a scent, but seeing her gain the confidence off the scent (knowing it is OK if she doesn't have a trail yet) makes her even easier to read when she finds the track. Akivah will 'run out' of the scent plume /cone and range to find it again, so i guess I could say (and please correct me if I'm wrong) area dogs tend to handle negatives a bit better naturally then a trailing/tracking dog due to the nature of how they work... So cool! Dogs are amazing
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