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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How do you slow a newly tracking dog down on the track? Just switched from pads to short straight tracks about a month ago. Berlin is overly enthused about tracking, and usually misses alot of footsteps, and usually stays on one side. He blows through the track knowing there is a 'jack pot' at the end. *sigh* I have tried not so smelly food, as well as very smelly food to grab his attention and make him get every step. Clearly, he isnt getting the idea of side to side with footsteps...he tracked the scent pads great, worked it thoroughly, worked the edges well..was focused and calm. Just am having a very hard time transitioning him. Also: what (in your opinion) is the best tracking environment? (long/short grass, dusk, dawn, mid day, rainy, damp, dirt, etc etc etc..) Any OTHER tracking advice is welcome too.

Now for the heel. I've been shaping this for a while. A few months..it's been rather hard. I've never trained it before. He has the heel position down, he will heel with me while walking if I have a lure (food usually - the ball he gets overly excited for and then it becomes sloppy/he jumps for it) How do you teach/shape the heel? Where do I go from here? I am trying to transition to using the ball, and adding in the command, but he isnt getting it. Also, his rear end awareness is terrible. If I scoot to the left a few feet he wont come, or he will come but sit angled out. I have used a 'perch', but how do I get him to learn to move his butt around on there and be GLUED to my left side? :help:

Thanks a ton in advance.
 

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I'd do serpentines and bait every footstep for awhile. Keep a bit of constant tension on the line and pulse it some to set a rhythm.
Heeling should be focus on you, mark, reward often when eyes are on yours. It's good to have a spotter when you work so you know if the pup is sitting crooked...when you look back to check, usually the body language of the handler will have the dog not sit straight...keep your body straight and don't move your left shoulder back if you are checking positions. Work against a wall.
It is repetition, small sessions and always a work in progress. Too much details to write out. Is there an obedience instructor you can work on on one with?
 

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Bridget Carlsen is in your area.
Yes she is!! And she is really great, if you can get with her go for it. I've done a few workshops with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the response. My dog is 11 months old. I do put food in every step right now. The problem with tension, is that sometimes he shuts down completely and just lies down on the track :)confused:) I train at a schH club, but not with any obedience trainer atm. I will look into Bridget thank you!
 

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You need someone to work with you on tracking then...it is always good to have another pair of experienced eyes and the dog needs to get use to others following along when you track.
My ob trainer was at Bridgets a couple weeks ago and Bridget had her young dog tracking and indicating pennies(along with articles) on the track. She was very impressed because the pennies were in fairly thick cover.
 

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Remove the jackpot from the end of the track for now and make tracking about the track itself. Only a couple of extra pieces at the end. I would also add in corners or serpentines, but you need to know exactly where they are, especially the serpentines.

Something that has helped Deja, who I have been trying to retrain, are free tracks. I did puppy boxes/circles first and then laid heavily baited tracks. I take her out and just stand back and let her track on her own. The first few were sort of scary to watch, but then she slowed down and started to work the tracks. There are only a few extra pieces of food at the end. No huge jackpot. I save jackpots for articles and for hidden boxes/cases (something new I have learned about) on the tracks themselves (no articles or jackpot boxes on free tracks). This is something I will be using from the start with my next puppy.
 

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Remove the jackpot from the end of the track for now and make tracking about the track itself. Only a couple of extra pieces at the end. I would also add in corners or serpentines, but you need to know exactly where they are, especially the serpentines.

Something that has helped Deja, who I have been trying to retrain, are free tracks. I did puppy boxes/circles first and then laid heavily baited tracks. I take her out and just stand back and let her track on her own. The first few were sort of scary to watch, but then she slowed down and started to work the tracks. There are only a few extra pieces of food at the end. No huge jackpot. I save jackpots for articles and for hidden boxes/cases (something new I have learned about) on the tracks themselves (no articles or jackpot boxes on free tracks). This is something I will be using from the start with my next puppy.
How big are the puppy circles or boxes and how far apart are the pieces of food on them? And you just cover the entire space with footsteps- no separate footsteps, right? I'm just starting out with my 5 month old boy.
 

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Is your dog really hungry when you track? How much do you cut back on his food before tracking. Make sure the dog is really hungry and use food that is appealing and has a strong smell. Don't be afraid to deprive you dog of food by cutting his meals in half or skipping meals for several days before tracking.
 

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I put the scent boxes maybe a few feet apart for my adult dog. Yes. Just a square or circle about 2X2 or 3X3, depending on the size of the pup/dog, totally stamped down with food scattered throughout.

Chip is right, hunger can help, though if there is a jackpot at the end they may still want to race down the track to the easier source of food.
 

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The problem with tension, is that sometimes he shuts down completely and just lies down on the track :)confused:)
This is common with young dogs just starting to track, especially if they have been corrected for pulling in the past.

Work your dog through this, encourage him to continue working, praise when he does so.

Do you track in a harness or on the collar?
 

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I put the scent boxes maybe a few feet apart for my adult dog. Yes. Just a square or circle about 2X2 or 3X3, depending on the size of the pup/dog, totally stamped down with food scattered throughout.

Chip is right, hunger can help, though if there is a jackpot at the end they may still want to race down the track to the easier source of food.
Thanks! :) When you say you put the boxes a few feet apart- do you mean that you make more than one square or circle?
 

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Yes, usually 3.
 

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I save jackpots for articles and for hidden boxes/cases (something new I have learned about) on the tracks themselves (no articles or jackpot boxes on free tracks). This is something I will be using from the start with my next puppy.
Can you talk us more about how you use those hidden cases?

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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This is something I just learned about and how to use so I may not be the best person to describe how to use them.

The best cases are the mini glasses cases. I have a few of those that a friend gave me and then some other small plastic storage containers. You start out with them open with some food in them. I use ground meat. When the dog approaches them on the track and starts to eat you gently tell them to down and help them down from behind or above. Then you make a HUGE deal out of the boxes, moving them around and making the dog very excited about them. Pick them up like an article, put them down again, pick them up and replace them with more food. Eventually the boxes are closed and when the dog indicates you again make a big deal about them, open them up, let the dog get the food, and repeat the other stuff (picking up, putting down, replacing with some more food). It doesn't matter if the dog noses them or moves them or plays with them. Once the dog is finding the boxes and indicating, you start hiding the boxes. Since the dog does not want to miss them he will work much harder with a deeper nose and also slow down. Because our ground is hard I tend to bury them under dead grass or in a spot where there is a hole. My friend lives where the soil is sandy so she will actually bury them down into the ground. Boxes are introduced after the dog is downing on at least one article. I believe there should be one box for every article on the track. I thought this might make the articles too exciting too, but it doesn't. The articles are still a good spot where the dog receives a food reward, but everything there is very calm. Articles are also eventually "hidden".

Obviously to use these the dog has to have either very high food drive or be hungry. I think Frank used a similar idea with his dog H-Cayos, though he used buried balls instead. Maybe Frank will see this and chime in.
 

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Re: the tension on the line and the dog shutting dog with the tension, you should learn how to use oppositional reflex to your advantage. This is the dog's desire to pull forward harder when he is restricted by the leash. What length leash are you using for tracking? I'd recommend a 15' line. When you start him on the track, let him pull a few feet through your fingers while putting some resistance on the line, but not enough to stop him. Then after a few feet, grip the line and make it a little harder for him to pull you. Then go back to letting him pull the line through your hands with resistance. Mix this up and repeat it. At some level, it reinforces him tracking fast, but it also addresses preventing him from completely shutting down. I would first go back to scent boxes making sure he is very hungry. You can apply hte same line handling techniques in the box. When has has about finished the food, pull him off the last piece or two slowly so that he is pulling into the food and you leave him wanting more. Again, you are reinforcing the fast tracking, but also addressing keeping him from shutting down with too much tension. I still find people are afraid to deprive their dog's of food. He will not starve and will reach his genetic size. Just make sure he gets plenty of water. After going back to the box, try a series of short, straight tracks (for example, three twenty foot tracks that are parallel with each other and spaced about twenty feet apart) and offer a lot of praise at the end, but not a pile of food.
 

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Thanks Lisa! I've been thinking to retrain Diabla too, who got me frustrated with her speed and this sound like perfect for her, specially since we already did something similar with cadaver, but now she can eat the source!!

Is there somewhere I can learn more about this method, do you mind me bothering you when questions arise? :D
 

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Catu, I actually learned this from a friend, who learned it from another person who learned it from another WUSV competitor/multi time winner. I doubt it is on line anywhere. Even my friend is not 100% on the training so we are both working on it together plus I am tweaking things as I go to find what works best for my dogs. The idea made sense to me and worth trying.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Okay, thanks for the helpful information.

Regarding his food intake, he *is* always starving, I cut his meals down because we train a lot (use food as a lure for some things we are shaping). So if I know we are tracking, I don't do obedience until after the track, and his meals are smaller already. I definitely feel bad, because he is hungry. So, thats not the problem..

I track him in the fursaver, no harness. I have been using boiled chicken/hot dog bits and they have been helping. But, I have been running out of room in my neighborhood to track, so yesterday I went to a nearby forest preserve (has lots of open spaces of grass) and laid a nice one, the grass was perfect...he blew threw it, lost the track for a moment, and just shut down when I pulled the line to slow him down. I am thinking he was way too distracted there, lots of people on the trails (although not near us) and we usually run there so he may have been excited. I think I am going to put him back to scent pads, 3 of them and connect them by a very short track, and see if that helps. Its super hot today though, so I will do this in the evening....

What is the best conditions to track in for a beginner dog? He does better when its damp (after it rained/morning dew etc) and in plush grass...so I am guessing that is.
 
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