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Nosework and Scent Tracking

37164 Views 76 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  jimfreeman
This first post is specifically to get a base started. I will post my whole process when I have the time to sit down and write it out, but for now you (Mikey) can work on this basic article from Tracking Dog Training - Fun Games For Beginning Tracking Dog Training. ;) Sorry for the sappy start, but I could feel the tension building, lol. This is similar to my treat under the bowl, or which hand games.

Find It!
Your dog loves it when you give it a treat, right? Start your tracking dog training with a simple "Find It" game. For starters, you need a dog treat. Have your dog sniff it, but don't give it to your dog. Then, make a great show of looking like you're hiding the treat from the dog by going to five or more places.

Then surreptitiously hide the dog treat in any one of the places you've visited. Then, say something like "Find it!" or "Go find!" Have your dog find the dog treat and praise your dog profusely when he or she finds it. If the dog becomes proficient in this game, you can make this type of training more challenging by hiding the treat while the dog is in another room.

Find Bubba!
This is a different take on the first tracking dog training game mentioned above. For this second dog training game, you are going to teach him or her how to find a certain person. This game is useful if you need the dog to find a certain person. First, you have to teach the dog to associate the name of the person with the person you want your dog to find. This training can be very useful if you want to teach your dog to track a family member for example.

Have your target person sit in a corner of a room, and say, "Find (the name of the person)!" Then, let the person give the dog a treat when the dog finds him or her. Do this several times until the dog learns that he or she needs to find the person when you give the command. Then, slowly ease the dog from the dog treats. This part of the training ensures that the dog is not trained to find the person who has treats, but to find the person only.

When the dog learns this technique, go to the next level. This time, teach the dog to find the person in another room. Then make it more difficult by having the dog use the scent from the air to find the person outdoors.
You can let your dog undergo this type of dog training for competition or for search and rescue. You can arm your dog with tracking dog training and you'll have a powerful ally when someone in your family goes missing.
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I actually want to do this with my dog Peyton. He definitely has beagle or pointer in him. I place things somewhere, even without him seeing, and he sits where it is and whines (kind of annoying LOL, but shows how smart he is). TY for posting this. It will give me an idea of what kind of games to play with him :)
I will try to update this with a more detailed writeup as soon as possible.;)
My Method

First off, I am not a professional trainer. There are many way to teach a dog to track, and many different reason for this type of training. The first post was a good example of how to train your dog to find family members in case of an emergency. This is the best type of track training for a standard house pet. Most tracking dogs are specialists. Some track specific creatures for their humans to hunt, while other track humans that get lost. Some are trained to track dead body's/bones, and some are trained to multi scent track. Cleo is trained to multi scent many different types of furry critters. I am Going to work with Missy on man tracking so she can be a teammate to Betty. With that being said this is where you start to make some decisions. I will also add...This is not an over night thing. To get Cleo fully trained on Multi scent tracking it took almost a year. Most single scent, or specialized tracking can take up to 6 months to complete.

First: You must have a dog, your kid brother or sister will fail and you will have wasted your time.:p

Second: Decided which path you wish to take your dog down, and which specialized scent you want your little buddy to work.

Third: Get started on basic commands, if your dog doesn't know them yet.

Mine are: Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Recover (I will explain), Settle, and Leave it.

Most have a problem understanding recover. It is a combination of a call off command, settle, and down/sit. I developed it over time, because I was annoyed of using 3 commands to get one thing done.
Recover with Lil' Misses:

Forth: Once your dog has a good grasp on basic commands, it is time for the games. This is where I teach the "find it" or "Search" command. Get your dogs favorite toy/item. Find something to cover it up. I use stainless steel bowls for small items and a towel for large. Show the dog the item, place it under the covering. Repeat as many time as needed to catch your dogs interest. Once your dog is interested in this new game, let him/her get a reward each time he/she put his/her nose on the item. Also, slowly add in the search, or find it command, as well as the sit command. Basically, you will be teaching your dog to point at the item with his/her nose and then sit. This is the signal that your dog has found the desired item when fully trained.

Fifth: Change over to training treats after your dog has a good grasp on the desired commands, and he/she knows exactly what you want of them. Work with this, until you and the dog are comfortable with the progress made. Store bought scents are added during this phase also. You do not have to get a full carcass to train a dog to track an animal. All scent are sold on the net Example:

I will add more in a bit. The next part will include diagrams of how to run straight line tracking through Obstacle tracking. ;)
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I also suck at writing things up, so feel free to ask questions, lol.

Forgot to add: Last part of in house/small area training is to show your dog the object to be found, and hide it in an area near by. I am usually using scents by this time and reward with a treat when the dog finds the hiding spot. This is the end of you scent recognition phase, and it is time to move on to the tracking phases.

Straight line tracking:
Start with a designated area with a line of sight from start to finish. 50 yards will be enough to begin. Mark the start and end with an object. I use small flags. Start by setting up the area with your dog elsewhere. Place a marker scent at a spot every 5+/- feet along the scent line. Along with the marker scent place a treat, the best being at the end of the trail. This will keep the dog interested, and also ensures that the nose stays on the ground. Walk the dog through the line. Stop at each point to let him/her get the scent and treat. Repeat this process as many times as needed until the dog knows what to do. You will know when they are ready to move onto the next step. Slowly increase the distance to 100 yards, and begin to remove the treats along the trail. Essentially, there will be less treats on each run until none remain. This is when you will begin to control the treats, and when the dog gets one. I prefer to give the dog several at the end of the trail instead of throughout the tracking run, but that is just me.
You will start to see your dog come into his/her own by this point. Keep in mind, tracking involves the dog to be ahead of you and pulling hard on the leash. No Cesar pack walk allowed. :p

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This sounds great!! ;)

I need to start training Liza on this! She loves these games but I don't know if she qualifies for scent training...she is a Poodle! :D She is very good at finding hidden treats all over the house and farm tho.
This sounds great!! ;)

I need to start training Liza on this! She loves these games but I don't know if she qualifies for scent training...she is a Poodle! :D She is very good at finding hidden treats all over the house and farm tho.
Any dog can be trained to scent track.:) Hounds are just the best at it.
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Haha ok then!! ;) I'll start her training! I know she loves this games! :D
Final run:

Curved line and Obstacle tracking:
This is the same process as straight line tracking. When your dog is successful at this basic curved line method, add obstacles, distractions, and distance. By this time you should be able to lay a trail anywhere and have your dog follow it. Be inventive, I sometimes will run a trail around my neighborhood the night before and then let them track it out in the morning. Neighborhood kids screaming, and running around are a great test of your dogs ability.

I hope this helps some of you out with your desires to work with you dog as a tracker. Like I stated above, I am not very good at write ups. Feel free to post any questions or message me if you have some.

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wow SH, thank you! seriously, this is awesome, and it gives me a good place to start on something new with clover... seriously.... you rock :rockon: ;)
You and anyone else who wanted to know how to do this are very welcome. I was prodded into it, but have no problem sharing my experience with all of you. I mean...I don't want you to think I am a goof ball all the time. I do know what I am doing with dogs :p.

Also, I really don't like writing up things because there are more ways to do it than mine. My way may work for me, but might not for others. ;)

I kind of admit, I want to see pictures of Critter tracking down a squirrel out there in Cali. But Crio would have to grab the dog before the squirrel putt a woopin on. :)
you do a good job of writing it up tho... ;) and sure there are other techniques, but i don't see anyone else posting them at the moment... maybe your post will inspire others to jump in too....

anyway, i'm always looking for new things to try out with clover... new games to keep his brain working... and with the weather clearing up, i'll be able to try stuff like this outside more and more too...
Just one more thing to catch Missy's eye. Clover is a superstar, and they can go tracking together now. :p
I like the diagrams!! Really nice! ;) This is something like SchH eh? It also reminds me the way they train dogs for fox hunting here! :)

I will try to play with Liza a "search and rescue" game! :D....Starting from basics of course! Thank you SH this is great!! and really fun!!
Just one more thing to catch Missy's eye. Clover is a superstar, and they can go tracking together now. :p
lol, i dunno about that... we will see if he actually "get's it" he did lose his tennis ball in the snow the other day, seems like if he had any superstar scent/tracking abilities he'd have found it....but we will see...
good call crios! i was thinking about this today in fact...:D
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