Should I switch to tracking? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Should I switch to tracking?

Tash is in training for air scenting. She's doing a good job so far too!

But recently while walking and so forth I've been having problems with her "gluing" her nose to the ground and following things.

I'm going to talk to my trainer but since she is liking having her nose to the ground would it be easier training her for tracking?

What do you think?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 06:20 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

I'd let the dog to do whatever his nose tells him. The beauty of SAR is the the goal is better than the way. If your dog learn to use all the resources available to find the victim, that's good. With experience he'll learn in which situations is better to rise or lower the nose. There are dogs that prefer one or the other in the same way we can be right or left handed, but they still can use both ways depending of the conditions of terrain, temperature, humidity, etc.

But if your problem is that he is looking in the ground for rodents, lizards or other distractions beside the victim then that is an entirely different problem that won't be resolved switching him to tracking.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 12:31 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

Is this behavior occuring while the dog is working or just while walking around? How would you say it is a problem?

Dogs are just being dogs if they are not working unless you can't tell her to leave it and have her obey.

- I think LicanAntai gives you good advice.

Nancy



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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 09:24 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

Both my air scent dog and our commanders will drop that nose and follow the trail of a subject in a heart beat if they cross it. But they will also lift there head and work the wind if they don't happen across a trail. I have seen dogs that are intent on looking for a trail. I think you should always use the natural abilities of the dog. We switched my husbands dog to trailing early on because he just didn't focus when we were working air scent with him but would if he was started on a trail. Read your dog, she will lead you to the work she likes if you watch her enough, and then she will excell at it. Thats when the fun really starts.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 10:03 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

Griffin loves to track. He looks for a track to follow, but if there isnt one, or it peters out, he air scents. I believe it makes him a stronger dog.

We were doing a night training and I walked a problem with 3 dogs (Griffin being last). The first dog really air scented and didnt track much. The wind had basically died and the dog hit on some scent (turned out it was where the 'victim' had entered the woods from a trail), this dog showed interest in the spot 4x, but since there was no scent blowing toward him, he did not enter the woods.

The 2nd dog was passed the spot where the victim entered the woods 2x and then went in. Griffin passed where the victim entered and then swung around and went in quickly. I assume because he was so interested in tracking that he was happy to take any scent.

He has thwarted me many times in training because I think I will have a longer problem, then he finds the track and gets the victim quickly. For real situations, I do think it is a plus for a dog to be willing to track and airscent. If Griffin was unwilling to air scent, I would change our training. If Tash is doing both, I would think it makes her stronger.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

So I should just continue training for air scent and let her track when she feels it's needed/wants too. That is as long as the tracking is not for distractions.

I know when she works her attitude changes and she very focused on doing what she's supposed to be doing.

Brittany mommy to -
Natasha's Sweet Windsong CGC - GSD - 34 months
Sadie Lynn - Siamese - 8 yrs
Cleo - DLH kitten

"Step" mom to -
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 11:24 AM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

I have been taught to interfere with the dog as little as possible. I let him work, figure out problems by himself and only give basic directionals (if he ranges too far from my gridding--as long as he is not on scent--I tell him 'over here' to get him nearer to me). If I think he is crittering, I will also get his attention to me and tell him to 'go find' again. No obedience commands, no negatives, just redirecting the attention. But I try to interfere as little as possible (sometimes hard to do LOL). To me, as long as they make their find--I dont care how they do it.

The problems I have with Griffin tracking are setting up problems. If I want a long problem and dont want him following a track, he and I go in to the area first and work with out a victim for a while, then call to base and have the victim go in. Or the victim has to go in to the area by walking most of the way outside my search area. But, no matter what I do, if he finds a track, he tries to follow the track. If he loses it, he will pick his head up tho and airscent. Is this what Tash is doing?

Jennifer and Griffin

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 01:06 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

I have a question for you. Does your air scent dog use a scent article? In my area air scent dogs are scent discriminating and trained, first, in trailing, then either continue on in advanced trailing or proceed to air scent.

This is because the most likely deployment of an air scent dog is after local law enforcement and EMS have done a hasty search and deployed departmental trailing dogs - not to mention whatever searching the family has done before they call the authorities.

I ask because if you are searching for a victim with a non-discriminating air scent dog and your dog follows a trail, what is the liklihood they are following the fresher trail of a previous searcher and not the victim?

Nancy



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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 03:17 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

Griffin is not scent discriminating. I get your point...... but I am really too new to all of this to be able to debate what is better.

I do know that in training, we have always gotten to our victim. We have trained in contaminated areas. Contaminated by the team and by strangers (most of our training areas are shared by hikers). I have seen Griffin (and other dogs on the team) hit what seem to be trails, follow them for a bit and then move on. We do a basic 100 ft wide grid pattern and try to make sure the dog covers the entire area. If a dog takes off on a trail or airscent, we mark where we left our grid and follow the dog. If it is not the victim, we go back and continue our area.

When I asked why we dont scent descriminate (to become operational. We are all free and encouraged to broaden our training as we wish), I was given the answer that it is very rare that we have an uncontaminated scent article.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 03:33 PM
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Re: Should I switch to tracking?

I am going to be quiet then about allowing a non discriminatory air scent dog to follow a trail since it is not part of the paradigm I have ever seen in real life. No problem with a discriminatory dog as he should only follow the correct trail.

Getting a good scent article has not been problematic.

[we do require in air scent standards that a dog must be able to work without an article but it is a rarity]

Nancy



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