Article Search class question - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Article Search class question

Is it common or acceptable practice to use food/treats to help with an article search? The reason I am asking is that our trainer offers an article search class, my daughter and I went to observe about 30 minutes of one of the 4 classes and the dogs were supposed to find a piece of leather on the field, then go into the "down" position. The first time around the dogs searched for the article only, then second search food was put on the leather - I believe the reasoning was to make them stay at the article longer (eating time) to give them time to go down.

The classes are expensive and my daughter felt food should not be used, only scent, but we are not experts in this area so we just want to verify if this is an acceptable practice before we put out some bucks. Also to be fair, we only watched 1/8 of the whole class series.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 03:40 PM
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are you beginning schutzhund style tracking? We use a lot of hot dogs in my club, putting them in our footsteps. I've seen tracks where the only place there wasn't food was at the article. Once the dog downs to indicate, praise and reward is given.

This is after scent circles, dial outs, straight tracks, etc. Walking a track with an article at the end is not the way we begin but after the dog has an understanding of the different elements.

We also teach article indication off the track before it's all put together.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=Freddy;2486102]are you beginning schutzhund style tracking?

No, or should I say I would not know. The trainer we go to is offering people search and article search classes so we'd thought we'd try it, as our dog seems to want something more challenging since she's getting older.

It's good to know you use a lot of hotdogs in your training, so now I feel more trusting of our trainer's methods.Thanks.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 06:34 PM
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We just started tracking last month and put drops of kibble or tiny pieces of hot dog in the footsteps. When Benny indicates the article he get a higher value food reward like liverwurst.

Once it began to click that the idea is to find the article we have begun using less food drops and today did a 300 yard track with two turns track using food drops and four articles.

We then did a short 100 yard track with no food.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 07:15 PM
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When I first started teaching articles on the track for my first SchH dog, I put food under the article so he would stop long enough for me to notice the article and down him. He ate a number of the articles.

My current puppy, was learning articles differently off the track and the food came from me, not the article, once he indicated it. I think this is a much better way to go, but both ways work.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 07:27 PM
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I taught the articles off the track and the food came from me. I do see others using food(in a sealed condiment cup) under the article so the dog isn't really scenting the food so much but knows that article indication brings a reward.
I'm still trying to keep Karlo motivated to track, and finding the articles just aren't big enough rewards. He indicates fine, but isn't in a high state of drive to 'find it'.
Last night I trained with some obedience people and they were using spoons for the scent discrimination exercise. The spoon that was 'hot' had food under it for the first few times. Eventually a spoon out of the dozen on the floor was replaced with an article(not hot) and then food randomized, sometimes it was under the spoon, sometimes not...and the dog never failed to find the right spoon. The article was more enticing than a spoon to retrieve, the dog had to work thru that and as training goes on there will be more articles/less spoons.
It was so cool to see the work ethic of the dog, and the retrieve/hold of that slippery spoon.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses. I like the idea of a higher value food reward. The trainer at our clinic tried to explain the article was a "plate" and the treats were food on the plate and that eventually the dogs will learn to search for the "plate" only. It's good to read that dogs will be able to search without needing food. I think he (the trainer) was having a harder time trying to train the humans of this concept than the dogs.
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