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schutzhund and tracking?
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: schutzhund and tracking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielle Hunt View Post
What are everyone's thoughts on how well a dog can contextualize between the different circumstances? I understand how it would be difficult to move to sport tracking if a dog already has a strong foundation in SAR. But what if a young dog is started in both and wears a reflective vest every time he does SAR type work but not in sport tracking? He'll quickly learn that the vest means a specific task and will fall into that behaviour when wearing it. Couple that with the fact that schutzhund tracking could be considered more of an obedience routine and has an overall different picture.... can the lines be made clear? Or will they always be blurry? Will the dog always opt for the shortcut (more instinctive IMO) SAR style type of nosework?

This has been on my mind lately as I also wish to do both with my future puppy and can't decide what to do for foundation work.
Not to take words out of Bob's mouth, but he considered it to be PITA to get the dog to switch back and forth. They can generalize o.k. (some are better at it than others) but you are setting yourself up for a ton of work especially if you are working for points. If you wish to pursue then lay your foundation with sport tracking before you move to sar.

What I will tell you is that, in my experiences, I have found that dogs with a sport tracking foundation - which is mostly vegetation - have a hard time making the transition to hard surfaces. Yes, you can do sport tracking on hard surfaces but it will require some different training techniques and understanding. Depending on your location, will drive your sar searches. If you live in a large city, your bread and butter work will be urban work dealing with dementia, alzheimers, and autistic folks. If you live in the country, then most of your trails will be rural, looking for lost hunters, hikers, etc.

SAR work can be just as intense and demanding as sport training. Its possible to do both provided you have enough time. It took me working, learning, traveling to sar training (3 hour drive roundtrip) every other weekend for 2 years before I felt that I had a handle on it, then another year before I felt comfortable with it. Luckily I only had a full time job to worry about and no family commitments. I would suggest that you research the teams in your area. Contact them and ask if you can come out to observe some training. Most have no problems with visitors especially if they know you are interesting in becoming a member. You normally will be asked to leave your dog at home (and I would recommend it) so you can focus on seeing what is going on.
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Old 05-16-2016, 09:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: schutzhund and tracking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Platts View Post
Not to take words out of Bob's mouth, but he considered it to be PITA to get the dog to switch back and forth. They can generalize o.k. (some are better at it than others) but you are setting yourself up for a ton of work especially if you are working for points. If you wish to pursue then lay your foundation with sport tracking before you move to sar.

What I will tell you is that, in my experiences, I have found that dogs with a sport tracking foundation - which is mostly vegetation - have a hard time making the transition to hard surfaces. Yes, you can do sport tracking on hard surfaces but it will require some different training techniques and understanding. Depending on your location, will drive your sar searches. If you live in a large city, your bread and butter work will be urban work dealing with dementia, alzheimers, and autistic folks. If you live in the country, then most of your trails will be rural, looking for lost hunters, hikers, etc.

SAR work can be just as intense and demanding as sport training. Its possible to do both provided you have enough time. It took me working, learning, traveling to sar training (3 hour drive roundtrip) every other weekend for 2 years before I felt that I had a handle on it, then another year before I felt comfortable with it. Luckily I only had a full time job to worry about and no family commitments. I would suggest that you research the teams in your area. Contact them and ask if you can come out to observe some training. Most have no problems with visitors especially if they know you are interesting in becoming a member. You normally will be asked to leave your dog at home (and I would recommend it) so you can focus on seeing what is going on.
Thanks. I'm actually interested in detection- environmental/conservation biology stuff. I only stuck with SAR for sake of not muddying the thread. I imagine there's no big difference in training style. Either way hard surface/urban is not a specific goal but that's good to know. The plan initially started when I was thinking about applying to grad school to study ecology but I'm not sure if I'm going to go through with it. My goal at the moment is primarily IPO and then scent work for the sake of learning and to see where it takes me.
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Old 05-16-2016, 11:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If you keep in mind that tracking for IPO and points /awards is a more obedience and form over function type of work compared to trailing, then it may help govern your focus. Tracking helps in discipline for the dog to stay closer to source scent and not fringe as much if actual detection work is going to be pursued.. But the dog that is working will not default to tracking, it will go where the strongest scent is be it fringe, on top of the source, in the air or on the ground.

Humans made tracking.. Dogs made trailing... Humans perceive scent to be where it falls, whatever that scent may be.. our limited understandingof scent, through education and observation of how the dogs work show us that scent can move distances quickly, last longer than expected (and diminish faster than expected) and land in places we wouldn't think to explore. Trailing allows the dog the freedom of self discovery. We don't tell the dog 'the person stepped her so drop your nose and follow the footsteps' we allow the dog to flow with the scent, wherever it may be.

I say this, because if you do pursue environmental detection work, your dog will trail/air scent, working either the scent of the trail of the animal, or looking for a plume/cone of scent from the source. IPO work can be fun, and you can definitely learn things, but I'm if you really plan on using this particular dog for work, I would only fringe the tracking. It is easier to allow the dog freedom after having rigid rules compared to the opposite, but depending on how competitive you are, forced tracking is a common practice and can lead to problems for a working dog..
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: schutzhund and tracking?

I will agree that tracking for points is more of an obedience exercise.

Real world tracking is more about directing the dog towards it's natural way of finding something or someone.

It's about air scenting, scenting ground disturbance, shrubs, anything that can get the dog to the object be it human or object.

Sport tracking looses points for lifting it's nose out of the grass or whatever other surface it's tracking on.

I didn't go back to real world scent work once I left SAR yet to this day my now 12 yr old GSD will use what mother nature gave him.

Head level with his shoulders and quartering the area he's looking for scent.

One of his indications was when he got close to the search object he would then drop his nose and start working closer to the ground.

I don't recall seeing a sport tracking dog with enough speed to keep the handler happy if they were on a moving human scent.

Same with corners. When I started sport tracking with my SAR dog making a 90 degree corner confused the hell out of him so "why the hell should I go straight if I know the object or human went this way".

We did get through it and he actually won best tracker at his Sch I test.

Sport tracking, for me, is boring and real world scent work, in the words of David Frost is "The most fun I can have with my pants on."
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