Beginner tracking//Any advice appreciated - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner tracking//Any advice appreciated

I started tracking with my 1 1/2 year old GSD a couple of weeks ago. I started with a simple 4x4 foot piece of disturbed earth with bil jack treats sprinkled inside. I did this about 4 or 5 times.

I recently tried him out with straight line tracks with the wind at my back. Disturbed earth(feet maintained contact with the ground the whole time) with treats around every 5-7 feet, and a jackpot at the end. Right at a hundred feet.

My dog zig zags off and on the track. Any advice on tightening up his tracking behavior. Here is a link to my youtube channel(only two videos at this time) . Check it out and let me know what you all think. Thanks in advance!

Josh Taylor

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5f...MhBi2ZK6aR6PcQ
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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tracking video embed attempt


Last edited by jtaylor20; 02-24-2016 at 11:38 PM.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 12:01 AM
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You need to bait heavier, every foot step. If you want to do FST. I would also keep the leash much shorter, only give him a couple of feet. I would go back to scent circles, then a circle or box with an X in it, then and E or a B scuffed in. Only bait the letter part of the square or circle. You seem to be progressing a little to fast, especially if IPO tracking is your goal. After you work the scent circles or boxes for a couple of weeks go to serpentines, not straight tracks. But, you need to scuff the track initially, like a set of train tracks. Bait every foot or so and then experiment with placement.

Remember, your dog knows how to track. It has the nose. It is your job to teach the dog to track in the style that you want. The way to teach a dog to track foot step to foot step is in the design of the track and training. Since your dog already knows how to use his nose, you must design tracks that teach the dog how you want it to track. A properly laid track will teach the dog a calm, methodical, accurate style of tracking.

There is no point in rushing the foundation work of tracking, that always comes back to bite you in the ass down the road.

Good luck, tracking is a lot of fun.

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

Jim
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 09:09 AM
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I'd go back to scent pads for a little longer. What you generally see is your dog in the beginning searching around like your dog on that track. What I look for is my dog clearly working the edges of the scent pad and never leaving it. At first its good if they leave it a little and then come back, that's them making the right association with the disturbed ground.

I think its generally a couple weeks like Jim mentioned, and 3-4 at a time every day before I see that. Your dog looks like he's got the drive for it, he'll probably be a good tracker.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 11:05 AM
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I've only done tracking a bit and started similarly. Thanks for the input.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. About how many reps with the scent pads should I do? Is there any telltale signs I should be looking for before we move forward?

I will probably post a video of the scent pad work. Thanks again.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Strom View Post
I'd go back to scent pads for a little longer. What you generally see is your dog in the beginning searching around like your dog on that track. What I look for is my dog clearly working the edges of the scent pad and never leaving it. At first its good if they leave it a little and then come back, that's them making the right association with the disturbed ground.

I think its generally a couple weeks like Jim mentioned, and 3-4 at a time every day before I see that. Your dog looks like he's got the drive for it, he'll probably be a good tracker.
Awesome, thanks for the help. Videos to follow.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Strom View Post
What I look for is my dog clearly working the edges of the scent pad and never leaving it. At first its good if they leave it a little and then come back, that's them making the right association with the disturbed ground.
This is what I looked for. Then moved to tracks with food in every steps, then every 3rd and so on.




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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 04:33 PM
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The beauty of the scent circles or scent boxes is watching the dog make the association of "ground disturbance" and reward. It teaches the dog that only the ground that has been stepped on is where the reward comes from. As Steve and Jax correctly stated; you want the dog to go out of the scent box and come back on it's own. You will see a slight "head snap" as the dog realizes it has just gone "out of bounds." The dog will work back in. The big thing is to just stand there and DO NOT help the dog. Let the dog work it out on it's own. You will then see the dog work the edges and stay inside the scent box. Once you can recognize the dog's behavior of hitting the edge and staying in the box, then I go to the letters in the box.

Once the dog is consistently working the scent boxes I add a serpentine tail in. Jax08 and Steve are spot on.

One other thing I do is make the circles about 4' in diameter, roughly. I add about 10 pieces of food or so. I let the dog get all the food, until it is down to one or two pieces. As the dog smells the last piece or two and moves towards it, I pull the dog out of the scent circle. I want the dog to realize that it just missed a piece. I laugh and praise and move right to the next box. This increases drive and desire to find every piece.

As a handler, you need to stand still and not help the dog and watch how much you talk to the dog. If the dog becomes bored and looks at you ignore it. If the dog looks at a bird or butterfly, stand still and ignore it. Eventually, you will become boring and the dog will go back to the scent circle, that is what you want.

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

Jim
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 04:41 PM
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I pulled my dog off the scent box before all the food was gone. I wanted him to WANT to search and that helped build more drive. He had great drive to start but that really solidified it.




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