how to teach my dog to follow a trail

Discussion in 'Dog Sports' started by tugidq64, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I am trying to teach my reactive dog some tracking just for fun. I was wondering if anyone could help me by telling my how a dog follows a trail. She follows it (I put food at the end)
    but doesn't have her nose down the whole time. Sometimes she will veer off the trail I set.
    Debby and Belle:msncool:
    Dodge likes this.

  2. stormi Well-Known Member

    For Storm I didn't ask too much till I knew she could cope and also considered conditions e.g. on a very windy day the scent will be all over the place so I made the track easier (shorter and straighter) for her.

    If your dog is coming off the track just stop and wait till she gets back on it and pulls you, then follow her again. If the dog is very obviously just hunting something else you can 'ah-ah, track on' (or whatever words you use), but only do that if your dog is strong/confident enough to handle it. If she keeps lifting her head the track may be too fresh for her, so maybe try aging it a bit more? With Breeze I made the track patterns more difficult (more changes of direction, not necessarily longer) to help her concentrate.

    Dodge likes this.
  3. curry Member

    We worked out the Mantrailing with backchaining. If you google, you will find a lot about it.
  4. Dodge Well-Known Member

    Asking here is better than googling things,as you get the possitive way of doing things,no matter what (y)

    Anyway,does your doggy know how to find things already by nose? If not,then its a good way to start in the house,then in your garden,then your local park,then your local woods,all with clicker and +R and if she s not very good off lead have a long line to keep hold of her (y)
  5. Dodge Well-Known Member

    May I ask what "backchaining" is? Cant get anything apart from funny handstitching stuff O_o
  6. curry Member

    Karen Pryor describes it like this:
    I think it's not a big deal for a dog to follow his nose. So at first we let the dog sit in front of a stranger and feed him there. After about 3 times the stranger drops something in a plastic bag and goes away around a corner. We show the dog the bag, say "sniff" if he is interested in it (if not you can teach him to sniff in it with the clicker at home, but most dogs are), say "trail" and let him go to the stranger. Important is, that he doesn't see the person waiting but has to follow his nose around the corner. At the stranger, he gets c&t for the sit. We always start with a stranger for the dog, so he learns to go for different persons and not always the same guy.
    Lexy88, abby_someone and Dodge like this.
  7. abby_someone Well-Known Member

    I always wanted to teach my Dane this technique but didn't know how. I plan on teaching my new little guy how to use his nose more purposefully.
  8. Elliot DMDS Well-Known Member

    I don't know a lot about man trailing, but I am trying to tell you how to make your dog track, so follow a path in a meadow, that can be either your own or one from another person.
    I learned this method when I did this great seminar in April this year with Bernd Föry & Melanie Krüger, who took part in several FCI-championships. They also use a very positive training method.
    This is Elliot at the seminar on his 5th track: [IMG]
    First, you should not take very smelly food, because you want to teach the dog to stay on the track and not look for food. Food should only reward him for using his nose. Really hard, dry food is the best. And take really small pieces of it. First you would stamp on a square maybe 40 on 40 centimeters. While your stamping on it, you drop various small pieces of food. Then you make your dog search for it. I usually ask for a sit at the edge of a square and then I give him the command "Search". When your dog doesn't know the command yet, you can throw a piece of food into the square so he would go and look for it. He/she will soon recognize that she'll only find food on the area you've stepped on. Dogs can easily differ areas with steps on from areas without. They smell the injuries on the earth. Do this serveral times, until you hear that your dog is really sniffing a lot. Another important thing is to take your dog out of these squares gently before he ate all the food, because you want him to be very curious on the search. If he knows that there would have been more, you create more interest for the next one.
    After some of these squares, when you feel that your dog is really using his nose, so if he is not lifting his head up during the time you make him search for food, you can start to step out of the squares. First really put one foot after the other, heal stricly after toe. Put one piece of food in every step you take. First tracks can really only mean one square and five steps and another square for instance. Remember to drop more food at the end and make a big step out so your not distracting your dog at the end. Pull him out gently before he ate everything. Keep asking for more if your dog is successful, but take small steps. When he followes the heal after toe tracks well, you can start to put your feet further away from another. But remember to raise criteria slowly, so your dog can be successful and excited about tracking! I always use the squares at the beginning to make to dog focused on the track. They are a bit smaller now though. Just my two feet next to another. And I mark the beginning of each track with a special stack, to also give my dog a visual sign.
    After a lot of small tracks you can start to reduce the food, maybe only every 5, 8. and 12th step for instance.
    Have fun! (I hope this was helpful)
    My dog loves to do tracking, this method is really great, and it works strictly in a positive way.
  9. fly30 Experienced Member

    Elliot DMDS thanks for all these details. And this is very true, we should not encourage the dog to look for food but use his nose. I had a try (just once so no skill on my behalf) at truffle tracking. This is how we did it. We had a chemical product which smells exactly like truffles and we put some of it on a biscuit. We presented the biscuit to the dog for him to smell and gave it to him. Then we put small pieces of the biscuit on the floor forming a one meter line and dogs could track and get the biscuits. It's just incredible but they understood straight away what we expected from them.
    We hid truffle smelling plastic eggs in the ground and asked the dogs to track them, they found them very quickly. This time, they did not get any food, just encouragements "oh what a good dog !!!"
    Here is Fly's video. Fly is not the first dog on the video, but the second one (at 1:25 minutes). She was not even one year old, I was impressed.

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