Tracking Question - Well sort of for sport but who knows - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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What kind of aging can you get on these tracks with a good dog? Depending on conditions, 24 hours plus works in the woods but a much harsher environment and, of course, potential for massive contamination.

Trying to figure if developing this skillset could be good for SAR or limited to police tracking. Maybe I can master it for mentoring future handlers.

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post #12 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 10:43 AM
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Very nice. I will subscribe. Do you set your tracks or do you have a different person. I really think, with a dog already used to working with article it would be strange for me to set my track.
Thanks!

For our patrol dog training we have someone else lay the tracks. I also do not let the track layer go along on the track. Since we are doing scent discrimination tracking, if the track layer accompanies the handler, the dog should turn and indicate to that person. I've seen this happen and dogs short cut tracks to get to the track layer. As we progress, the track layer is always at the end of the track. For us, this gets the dog driven to find the person / suspect at the end of the track. I'm sure this is very similar to what the SAR folks do, except our dogs are in drive to bite when they find the track layer.

We will work the hydrated tracks for a month or so, and get the dogs up to about a 1/2 mile. This is done in very busy shopping centers and on busy streets. We start from day one in busy areas and the dogs learn to ignore cars, trucks, other people and odors and focus on the correct scent.

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post #13 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 10:47 AM
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Not sure if your question is specifically tuned to the method of tracking, or, how long an urban trail can be run successfully? But I will chime in on the latter. I've run 48hr urban trails successfully - however, as with all things odor related, environment/weather/etc plays a role on how successful one will be. Urban tracks/trails (aged) are rarely straightforward due to the way wind plays against buildings, cars, asphalt/concrete, etc.. But the dogs are definitely able to adapt and run successful trails with considerable aging attached..
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post #14 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Well this all sounds promising. Several years ago I ran urban trails about 3-4 hours and did stuff like boxing intersections etc but in recent years we have focused on having more track sure trailing dogs first.

Yes buildings are crazy as is asphalt etc. (Sez the cadaver dog handler who has seen some wild scent transport) ... But maybe we could redeem the situation and come up with a useful specialty dog
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post #15 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 10:57 AM
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What kind of aging can you get on these tracks with a good dog? Depending on conditions, 24 hours plus works in the woods but a much harsher environment and, of course, potential for massive contamination.

Trying to figure if developing this skillset could be good for SAR or limited to police tracking. Maybe I can master it for mentoring future handlers.
We do a lot of hot tracks with this method. Depending on weather the water evaporates pretty fast. Concrete soaks it in really fast. This is why I went to the scent article in the water, that gives extra time and allows the dog to work older tracks. As we progress we may age the tracks for about an hour. AS we progress, there is no more agitation from the track layer and no more hydration. The track layer leaves a scent article and takes off. At this point we age the tracks longer, but no where near what you may do in SAR. Next we have no scent article but make the dog take scent from a car door handle or tree the track layer leaned on.

95% of the tracking we do is in an urban environment, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, streets and highways. After about a month into training I will introduce grass, woods and vegetation. The dogs find woods and grass super easy to track in after having a foundation on asphalt for the first month or so. I put a lot of time and emphasis on hard surface tracking and everything else seems to come together really easily and nicely. For us, I find it much easier to start on asphalt and go to grass then vice versa.

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post #16 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 11:02 AM
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I bet you have seen some crazy scent movement, lol... It astounds me constantly what the dogs noses are capable of... I love that Slamdunc teaches with the person at the end (seems unusal for most LE that often do ball tracks) - what a difference in dogs when they get a subject at the end of a trail vs. just a toy.. I do believe a blending of track sure but efficient trailing (getting to the subject as quickly and honestly as possible) is possible, and the best form... You would make a great trailing handler Nancy.. Winter might be a concern if your dog is a hard puller and there is ice, but your experience and the safer footing urban allows should lend itself to your success
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post #17 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Well, honestly our dogs get a bite too. Just a toy! And she likes to lick everyone. And loves kids and has worked with Autism and Downs subjects too.

And she is not a crazy hard puller until she gets close then she is crazy. She pulls into her harness with determination and eases up when she gets into a rough spot and has to cast around to recover the track. Ice. Not much here. For what we have I have those slip on things that are small enough to carry in your pack.
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post #18 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 11:24 AM
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Not sure if your question is specifically tuned to the method of tracking, or, how long an urban trail can be run successfully? But I will chime in on the latter. I've run 48hr urban trails successfully - however, as with all things odor related, environment/weather/etc plays a role on how successful one will be. Urban tracks/trails (aged) are rarely straightforward due to the way wind plays against buildings, cars, asphalt/concrete, etc.. But the dogs are definitely able to adapt and run successful trails with considerable aging attached..
The oldest successful urban track that I have run is about 8 hours old. It was from a burglary in an apartment complex and I was able to locate a foot print at the back door. It rained at least 2" that day and was pouring when I started. I figured there was no way I would get anything, but I felt bad for the victims dn gave it a shot. I tracked about a 1/2 mile to an apartment building where the track ended. I checked the surrounding building and they were all "negative." After some further investigation, I was able to locate the suspect in an upstairs apartment of the building I tracked too.

I am fascinated by 24 hour aged tracks and older. Do you leave the track layer at the end? Are these tracks run blind to the handler?

All the tracks we run are blind to the handler once we phase out the water. That is a key component for us, as the handlers are forced to read their dogs.

I need to get back with some SAR people and train. I've definitely adopted some of the techniques I use from them. The aged tracks intrigue me. Occasionally we will get called for a missing child that has been gone for hours or a dementia patient. Honestly, for us it becomes more of an area search than a track or trail at that point.
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post #19 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 11:34 AM
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I bet you have seen some crazy scent movement, lol... It astounds me constantly what the dogs noses are capable of... I love that Slamdunc teaches with the person at the end (seems unusal for most LE that often do ball tracks) - what a difference in dogs when they get a subject at the end of a trail vs. just a toy.. I do believe a blending of track sure but efficient trailing (getting to the subject as quickly and honestly as possible) is possible, and the best form... You would make a great trailing handler Nancy.. Winter might be a concern if your dog is a hard puller and there is ice, but your experience and the safer footing urban allows should lend itself to your success
I've found the person at the end is really important for us. We do segmented tracks when we start the run aways. First leg may be 300 - 400 yards, then a find, second leg is another 400 yards and so on. We quickly get to 1 mile long urban hard surface tracks by running segments. The dogs get finds and rewards as they go, then the track layer agitates and takes off. I find this to be an easy way to develop stamina, drive and increase length of tracks. Then we do longer segments, until we are running one leg of about a mile. The dog and handler may very well wind up going 1 1/2 miles to 2 miles with missed turns and wind.

I find the dogs trained this way will trail and even air scent and some of the dogs move pretty quickly. The dogs are allowed to air scent, trail or track and will shift through all three depending on the strength and source of odor. Naturally, the wind, environment, and weather play a huge factor. I don't care if the dogs air scent, trail or track as long as they find the person at the end. The other thing I want is a strong proximity alert when getting close. That is really important for us.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

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post #20 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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We will set the problems where the end can be accessed by the subject without going near the original track and set it the day before.

Sometimes, someone will go camp out at the finish so a dog can work a large scent pool -- I learned from HRD that a good source and a 30 minute aged problem is a lot easier than something out for 24 + hours.
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