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post #26 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hooligan View Post
Uh, I'm pretty sure I spotted two rabbits hopping across the grass in the background of this video. In that situation, I know exactly what our guy would have been doing. Good for Eva for being so focused on the track that she didn't even notice them!

Thanks for posting these videos. Very interesting.
Lol, that is one thing that I have never allowed. Any kind of animal chasing while working. If we are on an off leash hike, go on, have fun. If we are working, nope can't go.


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Originally Posted by lelise View Post
Great thread! Just got to read through it.

I have taken a short break from training (about a month) because I am so busy, but I did a few tracks this week so here is where we are now...

I am also at two different stages in tracking with my boys. Diego- the Bouvier is now 10 months (still in the "intro to tracking" phase) and Hans is 2, doing an IPO 1 track. It seems that I got lucky with Hans as he seems to be a natural tracker. The problem I have with him is not doing enough variety...I don't feel that his tracking is really reliable yet. He indicates very well, consistent with his tracking speed...but I would like to see him be more confident on the legs.

Diego (due to me being a lazy handler) has taken a few steps back in tracking...he is young so I expected that. He is very eager, but impatient...will miss quite a bit of food and has a somewhat of a high nose in between food. He is still very immature and is so-so about food (some days he's crazy for it, others not so much). I am now laying tracks with more food, and food closer together...we'll see how that goes.

One of the main reasons I haven't been tracking as much as I should is because I don't know what is a good place to track and what isn't. I have always thought you were supposed to track in the morning when it is damp...but who can do that consistently?? So I guess one of my questions is, is it okay to track on a dry grassy field? If so, how do you alter the way you lay your track on different conditions?

You should really prepare for everything. Most small trials allow for everyone to track before it gets hot and dry out, but that isn't possible at a big trial. I used to only track in the early morning. Then, once I was invited to track with a friend but she could only go at 3pm. It was winter so the temp wasn't an issue, but I can say that Eva wasn't used to tracking anytime except for morning she had no idea what was expected and what I really wanted her to do. It was a terrible track but I learned a good lesson. Now I track all throughout the day. Early, mid day, late.

As for conditions, it depends. New trackers, like the puppy (now 9ish months old) I keep it pretty easy still. Not super dry, not super hard, not super hot. My footsteps are fairly close together and she is still on food in every footstep. She doesn't pick up every piece, but she checks every footstep.

Older and more expereinced dogs get harder conditions. Drier grass, harder dirt, obstacles. The harder it is, the more food I use. Sometimes I will go through a bush or shrub of some kind and I will bait it pretty heavy to get them used to going through. Over logs and roads same thing
.

I have a few more questions for IPO tracking folks...

How do you step when you lay your track? Does this vary on the corners?

Again, it depends. For young dogs I step close together until they get the hang of checking. The older they get, the more space I step. It can also vary on an individual track. I might walk normal for part of the track, then make 10 really big and far apart steps.

For the IPO1 you get to lay your own track. For IPO2 and 3 someone else lays it. Lots of times they step nice and even and straight, but sometimes you get that drunk tracklayer or hungover tracklayer that just stumbles along, lol. Your dog has to be exposed to that just in case.

Same thing holds true for corners. I start with rails (essentially dragging my feet) to make a very easy corner. As they get more expereince I make all kinds of coners. Curves, 5 step corners, 90% corners, big step corners, you name it. You never know how the corner is going to be at a trial so you may as well do variations. The harder the tracking conditions, the easier I make my corners. I usually try to just work one problem at a time. Either getting expereince with tougher tracking conditions or working on tougher corners. I try not to do multiple difficulties all at once.

What type of food do you use and why? I have had a trainer tell me to use kibble or dried lamb lung because it doesn't have a strong scent and it will encourage the dog to actually smell the track. My current trainer uses hot dogs which have a strong scent...the dogs are enthusiastic about tracking but I worry they are not really paying attention to the track itself.

I use natrual balance rolled treats. Blends in with the dirt so it isn't such a visual and tastes good. For a while, when Fenja was young her food drive isn't what it is now and I used all kinds of things. Cheese, meatballs, chicken, even sardines although never again (they made my hands stink for a day). Use what works for your dog.

Where do you track? What would you recommend in finding good places to track?

Locationally, I am in a good region for tracking. In the summer I track in plowed dirt as there is a lot of agriculture here. Or in vacant lots that are disked (to keep fire danger low).

In winter (our rainy season) grass grows everywhere so any vacant lot or open space works for a while. The grass that grows out here is pretty nice.

If using a crop field, make sure that the farmer is ok with it. I have heard of people getting chased off with a shotgun before. Hasn't happened with me, but I know some farmers and have permission.

Lots of questions, but I'll take any answers I can get! I really enjoy tracking so I would love to hear different ways of doing things.


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post #27 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 03:59 PM
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Thanks Erynn!

My dogs have mostly only done tracks in the morning, so when I went tracking this week in the evening I kinda went "uh oh", and realized they need more experience on a dry track with harder grass. Its been so freakin hot here that pretty much everything is dry.

I will keep Diego on an easier surface for now, and maybe just do small tracks on the dry grass until he gets more experience. I did track with sardines last week...gross but it did get his attention!

We have a ton of farmland here too, I just don't know any of them that well...and everyone around here has a shotgun lol. Right now I have permission to track in my neighbors field so that will have to do for now...it just sucks when they don't cut the grass for months.

I'll try to get some clips this weekend at the club.

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post #28 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 08:23 PM
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Here is a video of Hans tracking today. Three legs, four articles. Good conditions, short damp grass, little wind.

He was sloooowwwww today. About a month ago he was going trough the track like a freight train so I really focused on slowing him down...well now he's slow so I guess I got what I asked for. I am going back to the fur saver instead of prong this week.

He also indicated the articles slower than normal, he has always done the two part platz (front first then butt), but today it was slower so I need to work on that. He didn't get any help from me (voice commands) on the articles except for the third one, I did give him a platz command then after he went down with his front.

Sorry the video is small...it was taken on my phone. Click on picture to view...it should work


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post #29 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, he is super slow! Judges seem to love that. That grass is devine! I could see your track, lol. I say he is doing pretty darn good. How did you slow him down? I was having trouble with speed for a while but now we are pretty good. I just walked slower. Did you do the same just with a pinch?


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post #30 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 12:08 AM
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Nice track! I want to slow Elsie down a bit as she is just frantic with her tracking, but I don't quite want that speed... It's a fine balance getting speed and accuracy right, and we do such loooong tracks for working trials!


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post #31 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 09:55 AM
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How did you slow him down? I was having trouble with speed for a while but now we are pretty good. I just walked slower. Did you do the same just with a pinch?
Yes, walking slower so he kinda self corrected on the pinch. His biggest issue was lunging forward when I said "such" at the start and after indicating articles. I wanted to see his nose on the ground at the "such" first instead of stepping forward before he put his nose down. So I made him wait...and wait until he calmed down. That seemed to set a slower pace for the track.

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post #32 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 09:59 AM
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Nice track! I want to slow Elsie down a bit as she is just frantic with her tracking, but I don't quite want that speed... It's a fine balance getting speed and accuracy right, and we do such loooong tracks for working trials!
Yes, it is. For me, since I know he likes to go fast, I would rather see him super slow wearing a pinch because when trial day comes and he is on the fur saver, he will naturally pick up speed but hopefully not so much that he is dragging me behind him since he's used to tracking with the pinch and being corrected for speed.

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post #33 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 05:23 PM
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Food dropping techniques... Anybody wanna help me out here? It might just be because I am super uncoordinated, but I can't get into a good food dropping/footstep routine LOL. Just about to go and lay a nice long track, already dreading the food part! Do you drop the food then step on it (and risk filling the tread of your boots with sausage) or step then awkwardly bend backwards to hopefully drop food where you stepped? There must be a better way LOL.


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post #34 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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I take two steps and then scootch my feet back an inch and a half and drop the food in. It probably would be better if I could get a video of it, but that is how I do it.


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post #35 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 08:34 PM
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It does take a long time when you're just getting started and you're putting food in most steps. Your technique will get better with time.
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post #36 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 09:20 PM
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I used to track in a field that was pretty open and around roads. Someone asked me once if I was doing a rain dance....

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post #37 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 09:52 PM
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I used to track in a field that was pretty open and around roads. Someone asked me once if I was doing a rain dance....
There were a bunch of people watching me lay tracks today, they looked like they were whispering to each other about how mental I am (it was raining and I was doing awkward step/shuffle/food/don't fall over/step/food dance)


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post #38 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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There were a bunch of people watching me lay tracks today, they looked like they were whispering to each other about how mental I am (it was raining and I was doing awkward step/shuffle/food/don't fall over/step/food dance)
As long as they don't have a shotgun... I don't care what they think I am doing!


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post #39 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 12:19 AM
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Thank you for the tip Erynn, we went out again this afternoon and treat dropping was far less awkward!


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post #40 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 09:16 AM
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Food dropping techniques... Anybody wanna help me out here? It might just be because I am super uncoordinated, but I can't get into a good food dropping/footstep routine LOL. Just about to go and lay a nice long track, already dreading the food part! Do you drop the food then step on it (and risk filling the tread of your boots with sausage) or step then awkwardly bend backwards to hopefully drop food where you stepped? There must be a better way LOL.
Just take the step and slide your foot a little to the outside, and drop it. No need to try and place it behind you.. I hope you can see what I am writing.. Step, slide foot about half foot WIDTH to the outside, will give you room to place couple pieces of food..
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post #41 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 09:34 AM
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Here is a video of Hans tracking today. Three legs, four articles. Good conditions, short damp grass, little wind.

He was sloooowwwww today. About a month ago he was going trough the track like a freight train so I really focused on slowing him down...well now he's slow so I guess I got what I asked for. I am going back to the fur saver instead of prong this week.

He also indicated the articles slower than normal, he has always done the two part platz (front first then butt), but today it was slower so I need to work on that. He didn't get any help from me (voice commands) on the articles except for the third one, I did give him a platz command then after he went down with his front.

Sorry the video is small...it was taken on my phone. Click on picture to view...it should work

At what time during the day did you do this?? I am also amazed at your field haha all the fields I find or have are much thicker grass, not flat at all, or too thin grass. I've yet to find a good place where my tracks were THAT noticeable.

Nice track by the way! Looks like you all are doing great!
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post #42 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 10:48 AM
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I've always thought tracking sounded interesting, and after reading this thread, I'm even more interested. I emailed the AKC to see if they were planning to open tracking to Canine Partners dogs. Even if they don't, it looks like I will still have Leo, so I guess I could start training both of them...


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post #43 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 11:23 AM
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At what time during the day did you do this?? I am also amazed at your field haha all the fields I find or have are much thicker grass, not flat at all, or too thin grass. I've yet to find a good place where my tracks were THAT noticeable.

Nice track by the way! Looks like you all are doing great!
This was at the training club, so that's why the field is so nice Thats also why you hear the loudmouth GSD in the background. We have different fields, some with short grass, some longer, when they harvest then we have dirt in some fields...its nice. I was tracking at about 8:30...it was cool and the grass had plenty of dew. It had also been raining for a few days before...normally the track isn't that easy to see lol.

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post #44 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 06:09 PM
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Thought you folks might be interested in this video of Dusan Majtas tracking with his 10-week-old pup. The video is long (about 30 minutes) and includes the laying of the track, so grab some popcorn, settle in, and take a look.

Portos Black Chabet, Traking work at 10 weeks - YouTube

Dusan was just at our SchH club for a three-day seminar, and the results were nothing short of amazing. We had everything from a 12-week-old pup who had never tracked to a SchH 2 dog. By the third day, a couple of the older puppies at our club, who had, until then, been doing 40- to 50-pace tracks were doing 150 paces with two articles. And this was in very hot and muggy conditions, both in the morning and again in the afternoon.

You'll notice a lot of things, but I'll point out a couple that you may find interesting. The first is the way Dusan lays his tracks and the length of his footsteps. The second is the articles. He doesn't teach them separately. Articles are an integral part of the process and are included almost from the beginning. He uses a sock (what puppy can resist a sock?) and stuffs it with food, and you'll see how he encourages the down.

Food for thought. Enjoy.
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post #45 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lelise View Post
This was at the training club, so that's why the field is so nice Thats also why you hear the loudmouth GSD in the background. We have different fields, some with short grass, some longer, when they harvest then we have dirt in some fields...its nice. I was tracking at about 8:30...it was cool and the grass had plenty of dew. It had also been raining for a few days before...normally the track isn't that easy to see lol.
That is nice. You've got all the tracking scenarios covered.
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post #46 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 05:39 AM
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Did a fun track today at the park in the pouring rain.
Was an upside down "L" shape, each leg was about 100m. There was a little hill with broken ground on first leg, second leg went a bit around a tree and decided to try something different and go about 2m across a concrete pad and drop the last treats there. There was a gentle wind blowing up the first leg, and across the second (any ideas on how to actually MEASURE wind speed?).

Elsie did really well, had food drops about every 8 steps and she kept her head down, was a bit wide on the corner (would more food fix this? Or shuffle steps?) and a little off the track with the cross wind (how to fix this?? a little wide is acceptable in working trials, but it gets harder with higher winds). Went across the hard surface great, didn't phase her a bit!

Now with a lot of the reading I have done they stress to not feed the dog the night before/day of tracking training... I have never skipped meals before tracking training with Elsie, and I guess this is why she is happy to skip food drops... Would you suggest I skip meals to get her more focused on getting EVERY food drop, and therefore will keep her head down better? I'm not after SchH precision tracking, but I do want her to get around a track losing as few marks as possible!


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post #47 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 09:49 PM
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Ok first as a precursor, I do not plan on competing in schH for his tracking titles as I previously planned. I'm too busy with Ob, and PSA type stuff for, and it is not worth it to me to barely pass a tracking title for a 6 year old dog who has been untrained for 5 years LOL. But it is a fun way to tire him out and let him use his nose, so even if its totally incorrect, its something fun for him to do with me outside.

Anyways, he loves tracking, although I'm pretty clueless as to what I'm doing. Do you all put only one 'piece' of food in each footstep that you include food in? I have gotten to the point where he thoroughly investigates every footstep, but I think I created a problem by having a couple pieces of kibble in each footstep. For instance, if he chomps down on one piece he might see one behind his nose and take a half step backwards to get it. I assume I will be better off with just putting one piece in a footstep to where he knows that as soon as he gets that piece, he should keep moving to next footstep etc. Is this thinking incorrect?
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post #48 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 05:42 AM
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I think forward is one of the first concepts the dog grasps. If I go a distance with no food, then I will put several pieces as a little jackpot. So, while the dog may or may not take a half-step backwards, their body is still facing in the correct direction. It hasn't been a problem for us.
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post #49 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_discowhore View Post

Would you suggest I skip meals to get her more focused on getting EVERY food drop, and therefore will keep her head down better? I'm not after SchH precision tracking, but I do want her to get around a track losing as few marks as possible!
I include training food in my dog's daily food intake. When I train at the club, the dogs don't get their morning meal...so they get food from the track and also from obedience that day. Then I give them a small meal in the evening when we get home. When I train on my own I always work with them in the evening so they get their morning meal and then if I track or do obedience later they don't get an evening meal. I never do obedience or tracking with food if they have eaten within the last few hours. I know for my dogs, the hungrier they are, the better their motivation!

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post #50 of 230 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 01:41 PM
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tracking

I was recently looking into teaching my dobie some tracking skills, what is the basic method to introduce your pup to these techniques. What do you lay in order to set a sent path? Any feedback or articles would be greatly appreciated.
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