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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone just was curious how many people work their scent discriminate dogs on negatives? I know it is important and have started my girl on short bouts of negative tracks. Cast her the length of her 30ft line, allow her to range a circle. When she questions where the trail/scent is I ask her to sit, praise her and then walk her to close to the actual trail, cast her again and let her take the actual trail and her find of the subject.

She isn't fully aware what negative space is or at least she isn't comfortable in it, yet. She is still green. But boy is it obvious when she hits the scent trail, lol her tail goes in a circle and she like bunny hops in the backend (especially if it is someone she likes).

I am just curious how many train negatives and if so, what variations do you use?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to mention this is for SAR, but for those that do tracking for IPO, or other titles I'm curious how or if you do it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bump.... I find it hard to believe nobody in tracking or trailing doesn't work negatives... I'm really interested in others experience and methods... Speaking up! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I just finished a negative with Areli. She took the scent article and pulled hard but her normal tail pop and bunny hop in the hind end when she has the track was missing. She pulled and I let her cast about 45ft either way. Once I knew she did not have a track (she couldn't as my subject will lay the track down later today) and she was pulling hard to find it. I told her to sit and rewarded her. She was very confused and frustrated when told to go back in the car. I was going to work the negative with my other dog who I am working with as an area search dog but currently is scent discriminate, but she wouldn't load and he was amped to try....... So all I need to do is launch him in the wrong direction a bit and let him work some negative space. Once he comes back to me I will redeploy him on the correct path and let him have the find... Not quite what my plan is, as a negative should not have a find at the end, but next time I will just do one at a time Korea have help, lol)

I noticed a marked confusion in Areli. She is clingy right now, and directly after the negative exercise, I noticed she searched everywhere for a scent trail when we got home. So when she finds her subject later today, she should be pretty berserk about it finding her 'lost' subject, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
An interesting thing happened working the positive... Normally, Areli hits the track so hard and fast I can barely keep up (until I get a harness for her I can't check her). After working the negative and having a 2hr break, when she worked the actual subject track ( the positive) she slowed about half as fast, meaning I jogged or jogged fast rather then a break neck sprint, lol! She took the scent and I could see a maturity coming... Very cool!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A funny hung happened after the last practice session with the pups. Areli had worked a negative earlier then several hours later a positive and found her subject quickly. I had her 'find' the car back (she long trotted pretty much straight to it and sat by it looking smug and proud, lol). I put her in and had Akivah work the track. Although I had the subject walk out another 4 minutes from previous spot. He is scent specific area search (and learning to be not discriminate as well). He did his search and outside of a quick potty break found his subject and even did a refund alert with my having to call him (good boy!).

So I walk back to car and let Areli out (who unbeknownst to me had decided my seat belt need not be in one piece any longer :( ) and let the two play. Areli IMMEDIATELY took the trail Akivah had just done and followed the old trail she had done (same subject) earlier and broke off where the new trail had been laid (for Akivah) and went to the tree my subject had hid behind for Akivah's turn!! I praised her and she kind of gave a shrug and a goofy smile then went and played with Akivah. It was like she was saying "I could have found her too. You can't trick me, ya know... Oh, by the way, your seat belt needs repair."

I am continually impressed with dogs sense of smell and humor!
 

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I have been gone for a week and there are not too many here. I do not work a trailing dog but know they do work negative trails. Some ask for a "negative indication" and others read the dog and accept that they did not commit as the negative. Working negatives are a big part of HRD and airscent work and we always try to have a positive to end the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi jocoyn. Did you mean not a lot of SAR trailing dogs? Yes, area search dogs work a lot negative space, but since they usually aren't scent specific (just scenting for any human) they can't really get into too much trouble (unless they start 'crittering' or dinking around, lol). Trailing dogs that don't learn to work negatives can get unsure and take a person on a path of any scent if they can't find the scent they are after.

You are right about an alert or just being able to read if the dog is I'm negatives. This is the first few times I have worked negatives purposely and I am really liking the confidence and focus it brings to my pup.

Today, when I cast her away from the hot trail, she confidently cast herself about a 45ft circle until she ran into the track. I am lucky, she tends to be pretty easy to read when on the trail compared to working negatives.... Just wish she would slow down, haha!
 

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We only work air scent dogs so I have very limited exposure to trailing. I did some work with a blood hound handler, which was very interesting especially in urban settings, but most groups around this area (MD, VA, DC) are all air scent units. But I do read you thread :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dinoblue, thanks for your reply :) I'm kind of surprised that your area would have mostly area search dogs as I would think urban/suburban areas would be pretty profuse (although I bet you have some GORGEOUS wilderness areas!). My gsd/malamute Akivah is working area (although I started him scent discriminate, so he is having to learn to find non specific too) and it is neat to watch the difference between the two dogs work. Areli (full GSD) works with her nose down (occasionally up if wind/scent requires it), Akivah works with head up (down on occasion if scent/wind requires it). Both find their subjects with purpose and joy, but watching Akivah range and cover so much territory (tongue lolling out in joy) and Areli staying so close to the path taken (tail twirling and butt bouncing hot on the trail) is amazing.... Different techniques accomplishing the same thing.. So cool!

Using the negatives I've noticed has already started to lock Areli down on a path. She always has been confident on a scent, but seeing her gain the confidence off the scent (knowing it is OK if she doesn't have a trail yet) makes her even easier to read when she finds the track. Akivah will 'run out' of the scent plume /cone and range to find it again, so i guess I could say (and please correct me if I'm wrong) area dogs tend to handle negatives a bit better naturally then a trailing/tracking dog due to the nature of how they work... So cool! Dogs are amazing :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ohhh, that's cool... Shows you how different locations use different techniques... So if only scent specific (please forgive my ignorance on this), you would always need a scent article? Or are your dogs cross trained to locate any human and if a scent article is available, hone in on that scent? Basically a dual purpose trail/area dog?
 

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Those dogs always use a scent article. It does appear to be more of a regional thing.... Theoretically they could work without a scent article just like a trailing dog can do a missing man line up and work without one but it is not something we have encountered a need to do nor do we train for that so if you don't train for it you don't do it. We have access to nonspecific dogs from other teams that we can use on mutual aid
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's cool :) Really is interesting to see the difference location necessity brings to the training. What type of call outs do you get mostly (if you don't mind my asking)? Wilderness or urban? Lost hiker or lost kid/dementia patients? Just curious as to geographical trends in missing people ; if there is a difference
 

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More lost kid or dementia....contaminated search areas...homes in area...people in vicinity...fewer true wilderness calls with gps and cellular technologies
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Same in our area... Makes a scent discriminate dog highly valuable (and oh so much fun, lol)... On a side note... I was reading through a thread about SAR training, and you had mentioned the loss of your mother. I know it has been several months since that time, and I don't mean to resurrect any pain, but I did want to express my thoughts and prayers are for you and your family.
 

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Thank you. We were and are at peace with her passing. We know it was a relief to her to be freed from her failing body and we feel blessed that we were able to keep her home with us and well cared for and loved for the 7 years after her stroke.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Worked the pups at the ski resort today. Most of the snow was gone. I had Akivah work first (he does scent specific area search) and changed things about a bit. While my subject was hiding I walked the pups in the opposite direction and let them explore and tried to calm them down as soon as they know they are going to 'find', they go ballistic.

I tied Areli outside of the car (my seat belt won't last if I have another shark attack from a pup) and as soon as I pulled the scent article out all appearance of calm was shattered, lol. Akivah practically climbed my arm to get to it and was off.. He ranged really well and worked negative space on his own (the subject was hiding up a logging rode and a sharp 120° angle to the right and up a steep hill behind a tree, mountains all around (ski resort). The scent pooled in a Grove of trees and he ranged quite a bit and seemed perplexed. Once I knew he had covered the area well I sent him the opposite direction (towards the subject, although I didn't know where she was hiding) and he ranged beautifully covering back behind me and back up, he bypassed her by about 30ft,but the wind was to my back and I know he was on the scent. He doubled back and elatedly found her. He forgot to remind alert, so I called him and he alerted and then returned for his reward. Good boy Akivah!

Areli was going bananas at the car and thankfully behaved herself and no claw marks were found (whew!). My subject walked back with me and then descended the main road down and to an open field of about 10acres with trees surrounding the whole perimeter. Due to shoes worn, she didn't want to traverse the acreage (which I asked she do), but walked a good length of the tree line and hid. I once again walked the dogs opposite and Areli tried to hit the old trail Akivah had just done. I called her off (3x) and she finally let go of it.... For the moment.

After about 10 minutes, I tied Akivah (who now is having a fit) and Areli is ready to hit the trail again. I gave her the scent article and sent her the opposite direction in order to work some negative space and get my reading of her down well (although she is pretty darn obvious when she is on the scent). Prior, the wind was blowing upwind of the victim (which I wanted as I was hoping to see how she reacted to a challenge), however, while working negative scent area the wind shifted and she caught her scent about 40ft from where the trail would have picked up, so down the hill we went, hit the road and she cast herself side to side until she picked up the trail... After that, 90 miles an hour (have got to get her harness,!) over logs, around trees, tail wagging and butt hopping and we found her subject. I had her sit, as this will probably be her alert from now on... She got her reward and I may have found (cross fingers) a reward other than just food (and new smells, sometimes I think she is a bloodhound in a Shepherd coat) that really makes her feel special : her 'baby' a stuffed bear. GOOD GIRL ARELI!

Both pups were happy... Oh... And the old trail that the subject took earlier, well on the walk back, as soon as Areli was close, she started off on it, again, not nose down like she is on the hunt, but kind of like she wants to see what Akivah got to do and prove that she could have done it too... This is becoming a ritual for her... Jealousy? Who knows...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Funny thing : took the pups for a walk today in a place I've had subjects hide (once, but it was a favorite person). As we near the places she hid the pups are looking in and around the place, bouncing around the tree like "BOO" but no one was there. Haha they seemed so sad that it was 'just' a walk... Good lord I've created search monsters...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Today we worked at the airport:

I had my subject walk a previously unused side so there would be not tainting of old trails (both pups have worked over old trails before, but I wanted to work her in negative space and allow her to find the trail...wanted to...). I did know her final placing but not the path she would take (outside of the side of forest). I aged the trail for 10 minutes... The trail ended up being over 3/10ths of a mile, although that was not on purpose.. just how she walked it

I tied Akivah outside of car and gave Areli the scent article.. I worked her away from where the trailhead was and over old trailheads to see what she would do.. I did restrict her going any further then a 45ft cast either direction. She quickly picked up the fresh trail and away we went... The trail began on asphalt and dived into downed brush, trees and deadfall (what fun..ugh). Areli was thoroughly hot on the trail when a black dog that looked awfully familiar darted onto the path.. AKIVAH!!!! The turkey busted his rope and decided he would 'help out' I don't think I was the most Christian (sorry Lord!) when I saw him bolt through.. I snagged him and trying to maintain my cool (which was not easy) walked him back to the car...practically dragging Areli who started to cast herself in front of me in thinking she had the wrong trail.. I threw him in the car (well not really, he weighs 82lbs) and tried to refocus myself. Areli was a bit doubtful at first when I recast her, she started the trailhead a bit early and cast herself through the underbrush for a bit, air scented a bit more, then BAM hit the scent trail again and once again we were off at 90mph (God is so good, I swear I managed to miss (most) of the downed logs and broken trees with my shins)... She worked back onto the asphalt (whichI thought might be air scenting although her nose was on the ground, but later found out after talking to the subject that she did walk back onto the asphalt then back into the woods, then across the asphalt to the opposite side - just like Areli did,yay!), back through the brush, back onto the asphalt to cross it to the other side, then right to the picnic table behind a group of trees to the subject.. YAY ARELI!!!

Akivah was let out of the car a bit shagrined for being so naughty earlier... Didn't take long to amp him up and lauch him.. Subject had moved 4 minute walk from her previous location; unknown to me where she was... Akivah quickly ranged air scenting, he went deep into the forest, back out, onto the asphalt, ranged midway through the forest, back onto the asphalt, caught the new scent of the new location and set off to find her on the new side (good boy Akivah). He found her quickly, and started to come to me for a refind alert, however, I did still have to call him to make sure he committed to it. He gave his alert (minus the bark, oops) and 'found her' again.... GOOD PUPPIES!!!!! I'm tired...lol
 
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