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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Assume I have ZERO knowledge or experience with tracking (which happens to be the case). If you were going to train a PPD for something like tracking, or an area search, what style of training would you use?

Take into account that the dog isn't very motivated by food or prey items. If he's gonna search, it's gonna have to be for the decoy.

Also, before anyone asks why I need a PPD that tracks, I'll be the first to admit that it's for learning's sake rather than a need.

Thanks,
Simon
 

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I'd teach the two seperate. I like to start with air scent although there are others that train the opposite way. The problem is finding the reinforcement that will drive the behavior. If he's not prey driven, what's the motivation for tracking for the decoy. Some dogs will work soley for physical and verbal praise, although, in my experience, that is rare. Food deprivation can be a motivational tool. However, in PPD work, I wouldn't be training a dog that had no prey drive. In your instance, if a ball, toy etc won't motivate your dog, food might be your best option. A food deprivation schedule could be set up.

DFrost
 

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This may be a bone of contention but maybe someone can enlighten me to the point I understand the reasoning. As a hunter, if a dog doesn't have the drive naturally, I won't waste the time because at best, the end result will be a mediocre dog. In the same vein, some dogs have a preference, and drive for cats, big or small.....but they do have the drive. If I want to bear hunt, the dog obviously will never make a great bear dog so he is traded of to a cat hunter. What is the purpose of trying to make a thoroughbred out of a clydesdale when mediocrity is going to be the end result? This is something I have tried to figure out for a long time and the answer still alludes me. Why?
 

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Here's another area that seems simple yets gets into language.
In sport, tracking is altogether diferent then real world tracking.
That would be, to me, trailing or airscenting.
David, how do you define tracking in PSD, as opposed to airscenting? Is air scenting looked at as the same thing as trailing?
I trained my present dog in air scenting first. Now I'm training him in sport tracking. That's been a pita for me.
He always seems to default to his foundation training (air scent) when he gets in a jam on a track.
 

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Don Turnipseed said:
This may be a bone of contention but maybe someone can enlighten me to the point I understand the reasoning. As a hunter, if a dog doesn't have the drive naturally, I won't waste the time because at best, the end result will be a mediocre dog. In the same vein, some dogs have a preference, and drive for cats, big or small.....but they do have the drive. If I want to bear hunt, the dog obviously will never make a great bear dog so he is traded of to a cat hunter. What is the purpose of trying to make a thoroughbred out of a clydesdale when mediocrity is going to be the end result? This is something I have tried to figure out for a long time and the answer still alludes me. Why?
because it is his dog and he wants to try his hand at teaching him a new skill. i don't think he wants our critique of what his dog is or isn't just tips on how to get started.

i agree with david that if he has no prey drive, food might be your only option. i would start with tracking first, then goto area search/wind scent. there are a bunch of good books on tracking. the first one to get you started is "Scent and the scenting dog". EXCELLENT book for getting started on scent work (doesn't specifically talk about teaching tracking/searching per se. gives you the theory of scent and how the dog views it, how you can use that to your advantage, etc.)...
 

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Don, I agree! It's the old "silk purse from a sows ear" thing. To many people try and fix what can't be fixed instead of replacing it.
Sentiment? expense? Time? Who knows!
 

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And my comment was not a criticism of Simon. Just a statement of scent training in general. I saw it way to many times in SAR. That's one of the major reasons I left.
 

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Don Turnipseed said:
I wasn't critiqueing Simons dog either, Bob. Simon said he had no prey except for the decoy. :roll: :roll: Sometimes ya just can't win. LOL
the guy asks for tips on tracking and you basically tell him not to bother because he'd end up with a mediocre result. that really helps i'm sure. whatever...

has anyone read "Scent and the Scenting Dog"? a MUST read...
 

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Excellent book and Yes, Jeff's method works quite well. In particular if you start with a young dog.
 

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Tim, Simon probably pays about as much attention to what I say as I do to what you have to say. :lol: Oh, I am sorry....I used your name to preface my post again. Hope you don't take it the wrong way....again.
 

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Tim Martens said:
Don Turnipseed said:
I wasn't critiqueing Simons dog either, Bob. Simon said he had no prey except for the decoy. :roll: :roll: Sometimes ya just can't win. LOL
the guy asks for tips on tracking and you basically tell him not to bother because he'd end up with a mediocre result. that really helps i'm sure. whatever...

has anyone read "Scent and the Scenting Dog"? a MUST read...
I couldn't agree more, Tim. He said "I'll be the first to admit that it's for learning's sake rather than a need.."

1. Sometimes I try teaching my dog something new because I want to learn how to train it.
2. Sometimes I train something for fun, because both my dog and I like it...... good at it or not.
3. Sometimes I just feel like trying something new.

So there.
 

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Don Turnipseed said:
Tim, Simon probably pays about as much attention to what I say as I do to what you have to say. :lol: Oh, I am sorry....I used your name to preface my post again. Hope you don't take it the wrong way....again.
Don, I fail to see how this post could be taken "the wrong way."
 

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I make it required reading in my course! Bob, the majority of my training course is tracking. Only when my teams can negotiate a 30 minute old 3/4 to a mile track sucesfully off the lead and show he is confident on non vegetated surfaces and will engage a quarry at the end, do I even begin to introduce air scenting. I have found over the years that I have had better sucess teaching this method.
Our MWD's did not track and as David stated how I got my tracking going with our MWD's was utilizing food dep in the beginning with their play toy at the end and once weaned off the food an occasional fight at the end, but always a quarry at the end. I wanted the dog to understand that the quarry was the prize not a toy or food.
 

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<<< how do you define tracking in PSD, as opposed to airscenting? Is air scenting looked at as the same thing as trailing? >>>

Bob, the first thing we do is define the objective; Find the man. As you say, terminology, once again can raise it's confused head. In my world, tracking/trailing can, roughly translated, be the same thing. Finding the person at the end of the trail/track. Air scenting, on the other hand is, of course, using airborne scent to locate the subject. In PSD, we combine the two. For example, an entire track may be conducted downwind of the subject. In tracking a person is taught to "cut" a track as you may not have a clear starting point. A witness may say, I saw the guy run between those two trees. It the subject had bailed from a vehicle, the officer may go to the vehicle and attempt to pick up the track from there, or cross the track where witnesses state the subject fled. Tracking deals more with ground scent etc. A fleeing person may well, in his route of travel, be in a position where he is upwind of the dog. The dog should detect this, abandon the track and go to the person using the airborne scent. We teach this as scouting. In scouting, handlers are taught about airborne scent, working the downwind flank and quartering (used to clear a specific area of an unknown suspect/intruder.) When training is conducted, it may start as a "track' and evolve into a scouting scenario. It may start as a scouting scenario and evolve into a track. It's faster than Footstep tracking and certainly not as pretty to watch, but very effective.

DFrost
 

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Don, I don't disagree about taking on a problem such as that. However, I do give a guy some credit for at least wanting to give it a shot. Difficult dogs can certainly provide excellant training experience. As long as the goals are not too lofty, or the dog is going to be used in situations of life or death, what's the harm.

DFrost
 

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There is no fault in doing , or wanting to do something David, I was just wondering... Why? The more I think about it there are a few reasons like maybe the dog just hast to be good enough to skate through a tracking test. There are probably a number of reasons. I ask because training is much more "multifaceted" than what I want to see in a "good" hunting dog. If they don't have it naturally, I am not going to try to put it there....largely because the dogs are out of handler control most of the time. You just don't put a low drive dog on the box if he won't get excited and bark when he smells a bear. I start a dog roading in front of the truck. It is body language that tell you the dog just hit a good track. I stop and turn in another dog or two. Load the gun and break out the thermos and a sandwich....and wait. The dogs will let us know in a short time. If not, I break out the tracking equipment and we may locate them across the river on the far mountain, miles out of hearing....at any rate they have to be naturals. Another way I will hunt them is air currents. This type is a foot hunt in a more restricted type area. With these terriers, when you hunt the air, once the sun breaks the horizon, you walk the dogs along the top pf the ridges because the air is warming and moving up....the dogs will pick up anything down the ridge or around the bottom of it. After the sun has gone down and the air is cooling, or really early morning when it hits its coldest, I move the dogs along the bottoms of the ridges and down through the stream beds and canyons. It is just a matter of putting the dog where he can test the best volume of air moving through the country.

I also find it hard to picture a law enforcement scenario where they get dogs figuring they will put something there that isn't there already in spades. But, I may be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
To everyone that's contributed, much appreciated.
To the skeptics, all I can say is that training a mediocre dog (and barely at that) has afforded me so much more learning experience than I would have gotten had I knew enough to pick a monster in the first place. I've had to be especially conscious of thresholds and motivating factors, and it's made me a better trainer because of it.

Jeff Oehlsen wrote:
"Have someone hold him and run off where he can't see you. The only time he gets a slack leash is when he puts his nose down to follow you."

Never heard of that before, but sounds like it might be my starting point, if only 'cause it seems more difficult to screw it up. Would I want to be down wind of the dog to force his nose down?

Simon
 
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