Trail vs. Area - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Trail vs. Area

What dogs traits excel better in each? How do you assess what type of search you and dog are best suited for (assuming your club needs both)?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 12:48 PM
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Good question! A good search dog will use both (nose down and nose up to be general) in order to find their subject. My personal opinion is that it is easier to go from trail to area search then vice versa for the dog, BUT, mostly the human (I can explain more if you want but answering question was specific to dog )... My girl thought runaways was boring and while she ranges well for HR she is a natural nose down first follow the trail type dog.. My boy started in area and ranges very well, he loves to run (although has a good recall which is hugely important) however, he is a bit shy so having me tethered to him via trail (which he also does very well) gives him alot more confidence...

All disciplines require focus (although I would say trail demands more do to the nature of it), drive and training... There are some dogs who choose their discipline; they don't have good recall so they trail, they naturally tend to range so they go area, they are getting up in years and need an easier way of going to they go HRD (not that that can't be hard)..

Mostly though, I would say it is human directed... I have seen dogs who were tried in trail wah out but excel in area and dogs who were phenomenal in area totally rock it in trail (and others totally wash out in trail)...

For trail, you do have to have a dog who is comfortable taking the lead on a limited line... Area dogs take the lead but have ultimate freedom to range, not so with a trail dog.. They have to be strong in focus and hopefully not to sensitive to line checks (accidental hang ups in brush, stepping (tripping) on line, erc) and often a steady pull when the dog is hauling booty up a hill and dragging their sorry out of breath partner (my girl moves fast, ugh)..

Area search needs a good and reliable alert and a dog that remains steadfast in finding a human odor in a large area...

There are certainly more traits but alot can be drawn out via training... I'm sure others will pipe in with some great thoughts as well
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 12:59 PM
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I would agree it is easier to go from trailing to area and some are more natural than others at either trailing or area but that kind of grows out of training and learning the dog. I would say the Brownell Marsolais selection test used for FEMA dogs (is it still used?) is an excellent way to select an air-scent or an HRD candidate and that many excellent trailing dogs may not pass that particular test but can still be amazing on a trail.

As far as handlers, I would say trailing is a harder discipline from a physical standpoint.

Your assessment of dogs "getting up years and need an easier way of going they go to HRD" is, IMO, inaccurate. Bodies sometimes wind up pushed off very steep banks, in kudzu patches, with holes, dogs have to balance on the front of a boat hanging off the edge etc ......crawling up into culverts, under crawl spaces, etc.....

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Last edited by NancyJ; 11-04-2015 at 02:07 PM.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info guys. At this point I'm feeling trail is probably where we'll start...but I guess we'll see as our learning progresses what we ultimately do.

Thanks,
Joe
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 04:51 PM
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I did put a parenthesis saying that it can be hard :P... In general though, there isn't a heavy push for urgency (speed) as life does not hang in a balance (well, I guess it would if it is consequential to determining innocence or guilt) and at least in our area, usually(again, not always) does not have as large area to cover... Not saying always... And definitely not saying that it is an easy task.. A little easier overall on the dogs body, probably. I know a lot of our dogs getting up in years only do HRD in order to keep them from injury due to age.. But I guess that can be just a local or personal choice.

Haven't heard of the testing for FEMA dogs you mentioned. Will have to look into that

Trailing is definitely a hard discipline... But SAR work in general is not for the faint of heart, out of shape, undisciplined, or undetermined person (or dog).. Loads of fun, gratifying, but a ton of work (and expensive).. OP.. Do you have a dog you are interested in seeing what they can do in SAR?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hineni7 View Post
. OP.. Do you have a dog you are interested in seeing what they can do in SAR?
Yes, my dog Koda. She is 5 months. A working line GSD.

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...-5-months.html

I will be taking her to meet with the local SAR group in the coming weeks. We are just getting started.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 06:17 AM
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@Hineni7 --The FEMA test used to be on their page but is not anymore but that is why I asked if it is still used; we use a variant of it to evaluate incoming dogs

@joeinca -- the team will probably evaluate YOUR pup and suggest a training plan.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 03:54 PM
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Have our answers answered your questions? Jocoyn is right, most likely your team will evaluate your dog and help you with what discipline the team needs as well as what your dog is good at..
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hineni7 View Post
Have our answers answered your questions? Jocoyn is right, most likely your team will evaluate your dog and help you with what discipline the team needs as well as what your dog is good at..
Yes, great input, thanks!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 09:06 PM
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Have you met with your team yet? I'm curious what discipline you have decided to pursue..
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