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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While at club training last week, it was mentioned that now we could probably start Jak on tracking and get more hot and heavy with his obedience as well. A few of the people there said they don't like to teach tracking with food, because it's hard to wean the dog off of tracking for food. I've never taught a dog to track, but thought I'd ask if anyone else on here teaches tracking without using food. How do you do it?
 
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Kristen Cabe said:
While at club training last week, it was mentioned that now we could probably start Jak on tracking and get more hot and heavy with his obedience as well. A few of the people there said they don't like to teach tracking with food, because it's hard to wean the dog off of tracking for food. I've never taught a dog to track, but thought I'd ask if anyone else on here teaches tracking without using food. How do you do it?

Several ways to do this depending on the pup's ability but the most common would be the "handler Lost". You will be doing mantracking directly using manscent, the way it should be. The pup will be so used to human scent and will be attracted to it till it matures. You have to be with a helper known to the pup, and make sure you have a good working relationship with your pup, meaning he wants to be with you and follows you wherever you go. Have your helper restrain your pup while you walk away facing the wind. Call your pup's name as you go as if teasing him to follow. Try a distance of about 10 meters at first, then "hide" in a nearby tree or whatever. Then have the helper command your pup crisp and clear the search command. It's your option to instruct your helper to unleash the pup or have it track with a lead.

If the pup finds you, praise him well, then do it again this time a little harder starting on that place where he found you. The 3rd time should be back to easy.

Allow the pup to be himself, using and developing what nature has equipped him with. He is at his best left unaltered. Tracking is where the dog reigns supreme. Learn from him.

Hope it helps and best regards...
 

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Kristen Cabe said:
Good advice! I wonder if it'll work with a 10 month old, though!
It will work on just about any dog at any age.We used it with an adult Chihuahua and he tracked the first time for about 75 yards. :wink:

Unless you want sport style tracking,Al's method is the way to go.This is exactly how I start tracking.

You dont have to teach a dog to track.In fact you dont have to teach a dog to track,bite or jump.You just have to communicate when you want him to do it.

Greg
 

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Jenni Williams said:
HAH! :twisted: BUSTED! You just admitted he tracked \:D/ !!!
I was gambling you wouldnt see that post. :x

Well I was trying to make a point.We never can be sure he used his nose though. :lol: I guess he could have :eek: He is pretty short. 8)

Greg
 

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Kristen Cabe said:
Good advice! I wonder if it'll work with a 10 month old, though!
We've done this with Achilles since he was maybe 4 months old! I'd go outside with Michael and he'd hide somewhere and Achilles would track him. Michael's also done it without one of us on the other end of the leash.

Now for my disclaimer: Achilles has not tracked anything in nearly 5 months. I have no clue if he still can, or if this would work now LOL. He hahs done limited tracking with scent markers in the ground, and hasn't done that for a good 7 months. I feel like such a bad mom right now...

I'm interested in this topic, as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sport style tracking is what I'm going to have to teach him, since he's going to (hopefully!) compete in Schutzhund. That's basically what I was asking - is there a way to teach footstep tracking without using food, or is food the only way to do it?
 
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Yes, this can be worked with older pups or dogs. I started a 2-year-old bitch and she's now one of our tracking dogs. But it cannot be comparable to one that started out as pup for the development is fast and very solid, as it all become second nature to the pup. With imagination, a handler can put up more challenges on himself and his pup/dog like working on bad terrain, steep inclines, cross a river while on the search or go track on inclement weather, thus incorporating agility with trackwork in real working conditions. It's hard work but the results will be no less than fabulous.

I'm sorry, Kristen. I don't think you can use this for Sports tracking. It's intended for real life work, no routines, no drills, no training aids.

Best regards...
 
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Stacia Porter said:
Now for my disclaimer: Achilles has not tracked anything in nearly 5 months. I have no clue if he still can, or if this would work now LOL. He hahs done limited tracking with scent markers in the ground, and hasn't done that for a good 7 months. I feel like such a bad mom right now...

I'm interested in this topic, as well...

Hello Stacia, Your very own dog will answer your question. Try to see if your dog will lose what is suppose to be natural in him. Go hook up and track. In a few minutes, you have your answer.

Best regards...
 

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There are force methods of teaching sport tracking, but food tracking has been quite reliable for me, in addition to the fact that there is no pressure on the dog. The statements about food being to hard to wean off of are usually given by people that are just to unfamiliar with food training.
 

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Agree with you totally Bob. I train using the chase and find method as I do not have the time when instructing a PD course to start off in footstep,I was fortunate enough to spend 3 tours in Germany and have observed beginning tracking to finished tracking off food and never saw a problem with handlers weaning their dog off of the food.
 

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If you use food, it is not hard to get them to the point where they eat at the end of the track, and eventually if needed, that can be switched really easy to a ball or toy.

The dog is the one that will dictate the training.

Food is annoying to try and get it in the stinkin track ( I am tall, and not easily contorted) but having to correct a dog for sprinting to find the toy sucks even worse. Stupid Sch.! :p :p :p



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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, seeing as Jak is EXTREMELY food motivated, I think using food would probably be easier for him and me, but just wondered a little about it since technically he's sniffing for the food and not the actual scent of the track, right?

Jeff, have you tried using a piece of PVC pipe to drop the food down through? Someone said that's what they do and it makes it much easier! :wink:
 

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Tracking

I agree that for sport tracking food was much eaiser to train the FST style. Begining with a piece in each step and the bouns at the end. Then weaning the dog off after he was good on turns and corners. To no food on the track at all. The benifit of doing this way is the dog will less likely revert back to naturally air scenting when he looses the track. He also teaches a young dog to keep his nose down which becomes critical in locating articles for sport tracking.
 
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Phil Dodson said:
Agree with you totally Bob. I train using the chase and find method as I do not have the time when instructing a PD course to start off in footstep,I was fortunate enough to spend 3 tours in Germany and have observed beginning tracking to finished tracking off food and never saw a problem with handlers weaning their dog off of the food.

What is chase and find method, Phil? Wouldn't that be more appropriate for patrol dogs?
 

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What Bob said!!! For sport, you want a methodical tracker putting nose in each footstep. The best way to get this result is little teeny food bits (like hot dogs bits) in each footstep. It is not difficult at all to stop using food. The food on the track is not the reward. It's the ball, or the pile of food or the big praise, or whatever you use at the end of your track that is the reward.
 

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In my opinion, there are two basic factors that have to be considered when training tracking. First, what is your objective. In sport, FST is important. In police work, finding the person is the most important. Once your objective has been established, now it's time to pick a method. In my experience picking a method is determined by a couple of factors as well. One, of course, the dog. What works for one, may not work for another. Two, the experience of the trainer. The trainer is first going to use what has been most successfull for them in the past primarily because it's what the trainer feels most comfortable teaching. As a trainer, I've tried to learn as much as I could about all methods. I would hate to lose a good dog, just because I didn't feel comfortable about using a particular method of training. Besides, I think tracking is one of the most fun things you can do with your pants on.

DFrost
 

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Hey, for all my fellow "foooood" trackers? What do you like to use best? I started (years ago) with hot dogs, then switched to "roll over", but ended up going back to hot dogs (much cheaper). :lol: Who likes to use what?
 
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David Frost said:
In my opinion, there are two basic factors that have to be considered when training tracking. First, what is your objective. In sport, FST is important. In police work, finding the person is the most important. Once your objective has been established, now it's time to pick a method. In my experience picking a method is determined by a couple of factors as well. One, of course, the dog. What works for one, may not work for another. Two, the experience of the trainer. The trainer is first going to use what has been most successfull for them in the past primarily because it's what the trainer feels most comfortable teaching. As a trainer, I've tried to learn as much as I could about all methods. I would hate to lose a good dog, just because I didn't feel comfortable about using a particular method of training. Besides, I think tracking is one of the most fun things you can do with your pants on.

DFrost

Hello David:

Took a quick look at your profile and found you're a police officer. Surely searches is a requirement and a real need in your kind of profession and I know you're aware of time being critical in searches. Surely you don't want your searches looking for criminals end up in airports or bus terminals. In rescue work where time is very critical, you probably want your dog to cut corners to drastically slash tracking time and distance as much as you can to get to the victim fast.

What kind of tracking method do you or most K9 police officers employ in meeting your objectives?

Just curious....
 
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