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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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.
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

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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?
 

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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?
 

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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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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]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here we use an article for searches.

We started out without one just so she got the point of what we wanted her to do. Then we added the article and continue to use an article unless no good articles can be used -one that wasn't shared between a huge amount of people- BUt for the most part I always make sure that we have a good article before we go to "work".
 

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Ok wonderful.

Now, get with your TD, They may already have the answer.

If not, do some runaways with the wind blowing away from the dog. When the dog runs out of visual, see if the nose goes down and she trails to the victim. If she does, then you could (with consent of your TD) add some trailing problems in the mix. If not then she may just be crittering in the woods and that needs to stop.

You want to make sure that when you let the dog do this in a training problem that she is working the trail OF THE SUBJECT and not another person or animal. So it really needs to be controlled when you set them up.

I have also had more than one good trailing problem thwarted by a shift in wind and have my dog airscent to the subject (what you want in real life but it is frustrating for someone who laid a 4 mile trail with turns, sat for 4 hours, and gets found in 15 minutes because of the wind!
)

With an airscent problem it is best for your subject to come in so that the grid does not cross the trail.

I would do both separately until you are confident the dog is discriminating and only working the trail of the subject when they are airscenting. Then you can work problems where it could be either and/or
 

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Nancy, you always give good advise.
Another suggestion would be that you try an air scent problem with the start area away from where your subject enters the area. Have your subject mark how they moved through the area with marking tape the same way they would when setting up a trailing problem. Set up your grid to cross where the trail is laid and see what happens at the marking tape. If the dogs nose drops in other locations and not in the area of the tape then you could safely say that it has not grasped the idea of jumping to trailing a subject, and is just crittering or is distracted. If the nose drops around the area of the tape and the dog strarts to follow where the subject went then your dog is doing a combination of trailing and air scenting and you are ahead of the game.
 

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My airscent dog is not scent discriminating, but he will follow a hot trail when he comes across it. I like that behavior because he will use whatever scent he gets to find a person. But when it happens inadvertently in training it can defeat the purpose of the exercise, which might include extending working time, improving ranging behavior, or homing in on faint air scent. It takes some more effort to set up problems to work around this, but one can arrange to work in a known clear area before transitioning to a different area where a subject is placed.

For most of the searches in my area I don't think it makes sense for the airscent dogs to discriminate. The airscent teams are often deployed early and assigned to cover a wilderness trail or defined area, and if there are any people there at all then that could be valuable information that needs to be found and reported. In heavily contaminated areas I understand the utility of scent discrimination though. But this often means urban or suburban areas where it would be too dangerous for the dogs to be ranging off-leash, limiting the effectiveness of airscent dogs.
 

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I think the start of using dogs in search and rescue was in the vast wilderness of Washington State where this all makes a lot of sense.

Same thing for disaster dogs and how they are trained

For the Wilderness (there are still some pretty big stretches) in the East Coast it can complicate things to have to have an area clear before working it. It is not uncommon here to have people working in adjacent sectors or out while you are working. First line is usually trailing dogs in our area. Our system has not been in place nearly as long as yours so it may be a day or more before the search teams are called in.
 

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Down here we have many state parks ect, areas where even far ranging is perfectly safe. However these parks are very utilised by other people and have scent discriminating dogs really cuts down time. My air scent dog will range hugely in this kind of area but I have been able to clear much smaller area's that are more urban by teaching her to "work close" she knows with that command I don't want her too far of my site. I also never run her without bells that help with my knowing where she is at all times when I want her to work closely. I agree that when you are setting up specific problems ect to work on specific things that setting up your problem where the dog never crosses the trail of the subject is necessary....and often difficult. But for the original specific concern setting up a cross trail and watching the dog may just answer her question.
 

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I do agree that would be a really good approach to answer the question.
 
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