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Tracking Progression
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Old 04-10-2016, 10:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

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Originally Posted by Bob Scott View Post
To follow up on Sarah's post, it has been discovered that a dog's nose is so sensitive and can determine from which direction the freshest scent come from.

Supposedly each nostril reacts independently.

If the strongest scent comes from the left then the left nostril will pick it up first, etc.

With that in mind I would expect the dog to turn right because that was the freshest track laid.

Interesting and confusing!
This is when you are coming into a track from the perpendicular or casting the nose back and forth over the track to establish the direction of travel. The width between the nostrils is sufficient to allow a 'timing' difference between the scent hitting the olfactory processing from one nostril as compared to the other nostril. [one study pegged this at 0.3 millisecond] Similar to the way you can tell where a sound is coming from. The sound wave hits one ear before it hits the second. Yes, fractions of a milli-second but its enough for your brain to process the direction it came from. [egads, now I'm posting like rick.... so sorry everyone]

This difference of timing and the time it takes you to walk one footstep to the next footstep is sufficient for a dog to determine which footstep is older or fresher from the other one.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

Sarah, No doubt he got caught in the scent pool. We didn't have the luxury of of leaving the area and casting him around due to the extreme thickness of the vegetation. The guy being down wind didn't help at all. It's lucky that I recognized what was happening and it was I who actually saw the guy. Once he moved the dog locked onto him an d it was game over.

Regarding you track of the missing person...you were able to obtain a viable track weeks later? How could it be I can't wrap my head around that one.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

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Interesting Bob. I will say that the wind was left to right. It may, or may not have been a factor. I will try it with different wind directions to see.

Just to throw a monkey wrench into the works...We tracked an armed suspect who laid down in some pepper trees to hide from us. When he had the chance he moved about 15 feet to hide behind a fence. My dog went apeshizz in the area where the guy laid down. He likely had been there for 15 minutes dumping sweat and adrenalin.. Dog refused to leave the area and follow the track out. The wind was wrong for the dog to smell him where he layed down. I've heard of rabbit dogs doing the same thing. The pool of odor is so great where the rabbit rests and the dog is overwhelmed by the hot scent that the escape route is ignored. How can they do so damn good then get hoodwinked by something so small? Amazing. Just when ya think ya got em figured out.

This makes sense to me.

In hunting with earth dogs most critters that use a den, 99% dug by ground hogs here and will have rooms for resting, rooms used for toilet matters, escape tunnels and a room they will hibernate in.

With young terrier just learning to find under ground it's not uncommon to dig to the dog and find it in the toilet area where the scent is obviously very strong.

If the dog doesn't get up to a ground hog pretty quick the hog will dig itself in and wall off the dog.

The good dogs figure these things out and I don't think you can really break them because a good earth dog is more about genetics then training.

You can't make the litle bassids go down a dark hole in the ground if they don't have it in them.

Occasionally you'll find an older dog that cant get over these issues and you just quit hunting with it even though you have a yr or more in starting this dog.
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:29 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

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Regarding you track of the missing person...you were able to obtain a viable track weeks later? How could it be I can't wrap my head around that one.
Human scent lasts longer than we think it does. I took a list of the compounds that they say comprise human scent and started doing some research on them. Some of the compounds listed as volatile degrade rapidly into forms considered stable able to tolerate heat and such. Some do the opposite and volatize to other forms - some stable in the new configuration, some not. For your line of work, it's not practical. This aged trailing is more useful for detectives and not the street cop. I've shown and worked with some police K9s but the officers didn't delve into it to deeply wanting to keep the hot track, non scent specific felon tracking skill instead.

Most of the time, we (the handlers) don't want to know the age of a track or much info past a starting location. Handlers throw a lot of their own bias into the work which affects the dog. Didn't think much about age of trails until my group worked a missing person case in NC. After that was done, the detectives asked if we would mind looking at another missing person case. They knew where he was last seen and where they had found the body but wanted to know where he had gone between points A and B. Two handlers started their dogs and we ended up at a point down the road at a construction laydown yard. I dropped my dog onto the trail at that point. Dog took off and went down the road where we eventually ended up at bridge. Dog hung up there, circling one side of the road, then took off again. We ended up taking a couple of turns onto various county roads passing dead deer and other trash. At one point the dog went off the road, through a small field, back and forth until he got to this black trash bag. Nosed it for a bit and then a mad dash back down the road. I halted him and told the cops we needed to look in that trash bag. It was opened and inside were the rags and stuff used to clean up the guy's blood (subject had had his throat cut). Kept on the trail ending up at the next town in a migrant housing project. At that point I pulled my dog for exhaustion and bleeding foot pads. That night at dinner we asked for specifics on the track. The area my dog circled by the bridge? That's where the subject's body had been recovered from. The trash bag is obvious and contained evidence of the crime. Age of the track? Twenty-eight days at the time we worked it.
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Old 04-11-2016, 03:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

Sarah, that is totally amazing! After reading that, and your PM it makes me feel as if I'm just playing at it.

How do you get the dog to lock in on the target odor? Do you use a scent article?
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

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Sarah, that is totally amazing! After reading that, and your PM it makes me feel as if I'm just playing at it.

How do you get the dog to lock in on the target odor? Do you use a scent article?
Howard, you are not playing at it. You are a K9 cop and you have a particular focus based on your job. I don't have that issue and can try a lot of stuff because I have the 'leisure' to mess with scent. What you are doing with your patrol dog is worlds ahead what I usually see being done. You are absolutely one of the most progressive-minded police K9 handlers I have met. Hell, you even beat a lot of SAR handlers who are scared to try something for fear of looking bad to search management or LE. You are willing to experiment a bit which MOST will not do. This is rare in my experience.

For this type of work you ALWAYS have to have a scent article. Age isn't important as long as it's a good article. It's not always clothing. I've used chapsticks, cd's, paper they drew on, spent casings, even washed clothing. Someone wrote a saying once that went along the lines of 'How would my dog solve this if I wasn't here messing him up...." I try to keep that in mind when I do this work.
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Old 04-11-2016, 06:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

Thank you for the kind words Sarah. It's nice to be appreciated by people who have the same love that I do.

Regarding the scent article. Does it mess with the dog when he starts on a fresher, or older scent picture of the same target? How the hell does the dog connect the dots from a month old scent article to a 2 week old track old track? In a perfect world you would have a scent article that was worn/touched at the same time the person went missing. Such and interesting phenomena.
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Old 04-11-2016, 06:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

Just guessing but from her earlier response VOCs, just in different concentration. Let's see what she has to say though.
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

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Just guessing but from her earlier response VOCs, just in different concentration. Let's see what she has to say though.
I kinda get that from her response but time and scent degradation would leave a different scent picture I would think. Unless the dog is taking certain components of that scent picture that still matches the one offered to him to target. Just my guess anyway. In no way am I even on the same planet when it comes to this stuff. I'm picking brains here for my own selfish reasons.
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Tracking Progression

Well Howard, if we can't be selfish we wouldn't be human beings, now would we?

And yes, in a nutshell I expect that is what occurs.
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