TDX tracking training.. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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TDX tracking training..

How did you start this? Did you just make the tracks longer and add more obstacles right away or what?
Also, best way to teach asphalt/cement tracking?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 04:39 PM
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Re: TDX tracking training..

Kathy W should be able to help/give you advice with this.. Lynn P is another one who has trained for the TDX

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 04:55 PM
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Re: TDX tracking training..

I started TDX work right along with TD work. My dogs know how to negotiate cover changes and obstacles within a few months of learning their first turn. Since I always use multiple articles having more articles is never a problem.

I would go back and forth on distance, a short fun track and then a 600 yard track, then short then 650 yards and so on. You also have to factor in increasing age. Many people have this formula for increasing age by 15 minute increments. If the dog can track a 2 hour track he can track a 3 hour track. But even with age I do fresher tracks interspersed with older tracks.

Most dogs have problems with the distance not age. Some dogs will take the second cross track because they are tired and fresher scent may be easier for them. I train cross tracks very rarely. When I do, I put an article about 10 paces past the cross track to pull the dog over and offer an opportunity for reward right away. Then I increase the distance between the cross track and article until the dog does not need to be pulled.

As for hard surfaces- start soon. I use baby steps and a lot of articles to pull the dog out on the hard surface. They know to find articles and indicate so the articles help them learn the track can go other places than grass too. I also use a squirt bottle to spray water ahead of me on the asphalt and then I walk through it. That helps keep the scent on the ground better during the learning phase. You will want to fade that fairly quickly by using less frequent squirts of water. After you fade the water start taking a longer step until you can use a full lenght stride. Space the articles further away until uoi can cross a parking lot with one artcle on it.

When you introduce the MOT (Moment of Truth turn in the open on hard surfaces) use shorter strides into and out of the corner. I use chalk to mark it so I can see exactly what the dog does at the point the turn was made.

Same tracking principles apply here, you want the dog to work as closely to the track as possible, but understand the scent will drift more on the hard surface, kind of like a puddle of water.

A good book on VST is available on http://www.pawmark.com

Kathy

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: TDX tracking training..

Thanks Kathy!! I was hoping you would notice this
I tend to forget to do shorter "fun" tracks inbetween looooonng difficult tracks. I think tonight I will concentrate on articles and hard surface tracking, but I will make it short and fun for him, tons of articles, which means tons of food!!! Which means "happy Cody" ... lol
I have tried hard surface with him twice, coming from short grass and both times it was hard for him, I showed him with my finger where the track is, and immadiately when he sniffed it, he was able to follow it on the cement/asphalt, but he was not able to find it on his own yet. He knows different other elements, short grass, long grass, matted grass... I guess mainly grass... I have tried him on sand once and he was fine.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 10:17 AM
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Re: TDX tracking training..

The way to make hard surface easier is to put an article just about 10 paces after the transition. I don't use food on the track it tends to get eaten by birds. I also prefer to have at least 45 minutes age on it right from the start. Scent drifts more on hard surfaces and the longer it ages the less drifted scent there is and the dog should find it easier to stay on it. Again short steps leaving a continuous trail and the spray bottle with water help intensify it until the dog figures the track can leave grass.

Most of this is just patience. Kayos has been working hard surfaces now for almost 2 years and she is just now ready for a VST. She had trouble with the MOT. Or should I say I had trouble reading her. The dogs tracking style may change on hard surfaces making it more difficult to read the tracking language. Kayos' did.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 10:59 AM
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Re: TDX tracking training..

If you do want to use food use it between articles in case it is gone. I track at a dam a lot and the gulls are bad about taking food. I am not against its use I just don't use it unless I have to.

The dogs also seem to process dirt, sand, mulch and gravel much like grass so starting on those surfaces is easier for the dog too.

A dog that can do a transition from grass to asphalt and back can also do a transition to taller cover or cover changes. They figure quickly how to figure the track change no matter the surface.

They are pretty smart!

Kathy

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 10:54 PM
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Re: TDX tracking training..

Quote:
Originally Posted By: SuperpupHow did you start this? Did you just make the tracks longer and add more obstacles right away or what?
Work on different "elements" of TDX work one at a time... don't try to throw too much at your dog at once. ie. One day, you might decide to work on distance/endurance; another day you might want to push the age on the track but do less distance.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: SuperpupAlso, best way to teach asphalt/cement tracking?
If you don't plan to do VST, I wouldn't worry about teaching the dog to track on pavement; just teach him to cross the road.

If you DO want to do VST, I recommend Steve White's method: HITT (Hydration Intensified Tracking Training)... the best way to learn is to go to one of his seminars; next best would be to buy his video.

I went to his seminar and started my puppy tracking on pavement. We will be trying for an Urban TD this year. Can't wait!

My old girl earned a UTD the hard way... we only started hard surface work after earning all of the possible field titles. I am seeing much better understanding of the task from my current gal, after starting on pavement with Steve's method.
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