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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so you know due to my ankle Tilly is not being worked in air scent anymore. Honestly, she is more of a trailing dog who works true to track if she hits it when she is working an air scent problem (that is we had to go crazy setting up problems else she would find and take advantage of the track turning an area problem into a quick find)

Now I know that trailing is not going to cut it for someone with a bad ankle! No fantasies here and people just don't understand trailing at SAR speed is so much harder on a handler than working an offlead air scent dog.

But I want something fun to do with Tilly that may pan out. Here is where she is on lead trailing. No issue with a mile long 3 hour old trail through the woods including crossing a parking lot with people and dogs..including finding the start given an LKP of a vehicle.

Standard tracks and crosstracks only worked <1hour. Works well. Pulls into harness. Deep nose. Commits. Easy to read a negative. Can cross roads.

Asphalt. We actually did that for about an eight of a mile with two turns and she did pretty good. Her first owner actually started her as a pup on asphalt but did not do HITT.

I am thinking of playing with her with hard surface, then proceeding to urban tracking-it may not pan out for SAR but it would sure be fun and keep her engaged. Any good resources, suggestions? Steve White is across the world from me. :). She is detail oriented and seems to be good at working out complexities like contamination etc. And, of course the older and more difficult, the slower the dog.
 

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I train all of our patrol dogs in my school to hard surface track on asphalt and concrete. It starts out as nose to surface and a modified Steve White's HITT, except we add a scent article to the water. This method does create a comfort zone on asphalt and nose to surface training methodical training method. However, as we progress, the dog naturally begins to air scent and work both the ground disturbance and the air scent. The dog will trail, however many will continue to track nose to surface when the surface odor is stronger than the air scent.

I do this everyday and have been very successful at teaching K-9 teams to hard surface track. Since I have started the HITT wth scent in the bottle, then tracking in drive our apprehensions have drastically increased.

The HITT and odor in a bottle is the first phase, then we got to run aways and agitation. I'd be happy to go into detail and explain what we do.
 

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I would love some insight. I have looked at some of Steve White's youtubes and have some familiarity with the method. I think I recall the original Steve White training did use a scent article in the water but it looks like the USPCAk9 articles are not accessible now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
She pulls into her harness but is not that hard fore me to manage and is very forgiving. But I can restrict what we do in terms of terrain. I am doing outside of team training just to give us something to do fun together. I am just doing HRD with the team with Beau.

The last thing I want is to be "that handler" who should not be out there. I could keep up but the tendons, ligaments, scar tissue have finally killed my stability. Word of wisdom for tracking. Never play with a dog who is not unclipped. I was teasing up a friends dog after she found me, threw the toy and viola. 5" plate. all kinds of mess down there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
if it were not for all the holes in the woods from where trees rotted out and the wear and tear trying to walk along a contour line when the ground falls off to the left of me....I can last about an hour on a contour and I am fried.

I made the decision a short while after coming back from training with foot all black and blue and swollen from one of those darned holes and took a week before it was not hurting....My husband has rods and screws in his spine. That was rough. I can imagine. That must make going through deadfall kind of rough.
 

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I have a bunch of videos on hard surface tracking on youtube. It is how we start all of our patrol dogs in the K9 school.
 

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Serpentines help to slow the dog down and teach the dog that the track will change direction. For this we generally track with the track being down wind. Or the wind at our back. The tracks are baited to start, then the bait is phased out and replaced with a person a the end. Then the water is phased out and we do the track layer does "run aways" with agitation.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Very nice. I will subscribe. Do you set your tracks or do you have a different person. I really think, with a dog already used to working with article it would be strange for me to set my track.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What kind of aging can you get on these tracks with a good dog? Depending on conditions, 24 hours plus works in the woods but a much harsher environment and, of course, potential for massive contamination.

Trying to figure if developing this skillset could be good for SAR or limited to police tracking. Maybe I can master it for mentoring future handlers.
 

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Very nice. I will subscribe. Do you set your tracks or do you have a different person. I really think, with a dog already used to working with article it would be strange for me to set my track.
Thanks!

For our patrol dog training we have someone else lay the tracks. I also do not let the track layer go along on the track. Since we are doing scent discrimination tracking, if the track layer accompanies the handler, the dog should turn and indicate to that person. I've seen this happen and dogs short cut tracks to get to the track layer. As we progress, the track layer is always at the end of the track. For us, this gets the dog driven to find the person / suspect at the end of the track. I'm sure this is very similar to what the SAR folks do, except our dogs are in drive to bite when they find the track layer.

We will work the hydrated tracks for a month or so, and get the dogs up to about a 1/2 mile. This is done in very busy shopping centers and on busy streets. We start from day one in busy areas and the dogs learn to ignore cars, trucks, other people and odors and focus on the correct scent.
 

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Not sure if your question is specifically tuned to the method of tracking, or, how long an urban trail can be run successfully? But I will chime in on the latter. I've run 48hr urban trails successfully - however, as with all things odor related, environment/weather/etc plays a role on how successful one will be. Urban tracks/trails (aged) are rarely straightforward due to the way wind plays against buildings, cars, asphalt/concrete, etc.. But the dogs are definitely able to adapt and run successful trails with considerable aging attached..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well this all sounds promising. Several years ago I ran urban trails about 3-4 hours and did stuff like boxing intersections etc but in recent years we have focused on having more track sure trailing dogs first.

Yes buildings are crazy as is asphalt etc. (Sez the cadaver dog handler who has seen some wild scent transport) ... But maybe we could redeem the situation and come up with a useful specialty dog
 

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What kind of aging can you get on these tracks with a good dog? Depending on conditions, 24 hours plus works in the woods but a much harsher environment and, of course, potential for massive contamination.

Trying to figure if developing this skillset could be good for SAR or limited to police tracking. Maybe I can master it for mentoring future handlers.
We do a lot of hot tracks with this method. Depending on weather the water evaporates pretty fast. Concrete soaks it in really fast. This is why I went to the scent article in the water, that gives extra time and allows the dog to work older tracks. As we progress we may age the tracks for about an hour. AS we progress, there is no more agitation from the track layer and no more hydration. The track layer leaves a scent article and takes off. At this point we age the tracks longer, but no where near what you may do in SAR. Next we have no scent article but make the dog take scent from a car door handle or tree the track layer leaned on.

95% of the tracking we do is in an urban environment, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, streets and highways. After about a month into training I will introduce grass, woods and vegetation. The dogs find woods and grass super easy to track in after having a foundation on asphalt for the first month or so. I put a lot of time and emphasis on hard surface tracking and everything else seems to come together really easily and nicely. For us, I find it much easier to start on asphalt and go to grass then vice versa.
 

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I bet you have seen some crazy scent movement, lol... It astounds me constantly what the dogs noses are capable of... I love that Slamdunc teaches with the person at the end (seems unusal for most LE that often do ball tracks) - what a difference in dogs when they get a subject at the end of a trail vs. just a toy.. I do believe a blending of track sure but efficient trailing (getting to the subject as quickly and honestly as possible) is possible, and the best form... You would make a great trailing handler Nancy.. Winter might be a concern if your dog is a hard puller and there is ice, but your experience and the safer footing urban allows should lend itself to your success
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, honestly our dogs get a bite too. Just a toy! And she likes to lick everyone. And loves kids and has worked with Autism and Downs subjects too.

And she is not a crazy hard puller until she gets close then she is crazy. She pulls into her harness with determination and eases up when she gets into a rough spot and has to cast around to recover the track. Ice. Not much here. For what we have I have those slip on things that are small enough to carry in your pack.
 

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Not sure if your question is specifically tuned to the method of tracking, or, how long an urban trail can be run successfully? But I will chime in on the latter. I've run 48hr urban trails successfully - however, as with all things odor related, environment/weather/etc plays a role on how successful one will be. Urban tracks/trails (aged) are rarely straightforward due to the way wind plays against buildings, cars, asphalt/concrete, etc.. But the dogs are definitely able to adapt and run successful trails with considerable aging attached..
The oldest successful urban track that I have run is about 8 hours old. It was from a burglary in an apartment complex and I was able to locate a foot print at the back door. It rained at least 2" that day and was pouring when I started. I figured there was no way I would get anything, but I felt bad for the victims dn gave it a shot. I tracked about a 1/2 mile to an apartment building where the track ended. I checked the surrounding building and they were all "negative." After some further investigation, I was able to locate the suspect in an upstairs apartment of the building I tracked too.

I am fascinated by 24 hour aged tracks and older. Do you leave the track layer at the end? Are these tracks run blind to the handler?

All the tracks we run are blind to the handler once we phase out the water. That is a key component for us, as the handlers are forced to read their dogs.

I need to get back with some SAR people and train. I've definitely adopted some of the techniques I use from them. The aged tracks intrigue me. Occasionally we will get called for a missing child that has been gone for hours or a dementia patient. Honestly, for us it becomes more of an area search than a track or trail at that point.
 

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I bet you have seen some crazy scent movement, lol... It astounds me constantly what the dogs noses are capable of... I love that Slamdunc teaches with the person at the end (seems unusal for most LE that often do ball tracks) - what a difference in dogs when they get a subject at the end of a trail vs. just a toy.. I do believe a blending of track sure but efficient trailing (getting to the subject as quickly and honestly as possible) is possible, and the best form... You would make a great trailing handler Nancy.. Winter might be a concern if your dog is a hard puller and there is ice, but your experience and the safer footing urban allows should lend itself to your success
I've found the person at the end is really important for us. We do segmented tracks when we start the run aways. First leg may be 300 - 400 yards, then a find, second leg is another 400 yards and so on. We quickly get to 1 mile long urban hard surface tracks by running segments. The dogs get finds and rewards as they go, then the track layer agitates and takes off. I find this to be an easy way to develop stamina, drive and increase length of tracks. Then we do longer segments, until we are running one leg of about a mile. The dog and handler may very well wind up going 1 1/2 miles to 2 miles with missed turns and wind.

I find the dogs trained this way will trail and even air scent and some of the dogs move pretty quickly. The dogs are allowed to air scent, trail or track and will shift through all three depending on the strength and source of odor. Naturally, the wind, environment, and weather play a huge factor. I don't care if the dogs air scent, trail or track as long as they find the person at the end. The other thing I want is a strong proximity alert when getting close. That is really important for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
We will set the problems where the end can be accessed by the subject without going near the original track and set it the day before.

Sometimes, someone will go camp out at the finish so a dog can work a large scent pool -- I learned from HRD that a good source and a 30 minute aged problem is a lot easier than something out for 24 + hours.
 
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