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training for tracking?

 
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mnoss
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PostPosted: 05/07/03, 7:58 am    Post subject: training for tracking? Reply with quote

I work as a biologist. There are dogs that have been trained for finding reptiles and amphibians. One of the biologist involved with these trackings told me that even though his dog is a family dog and a tracker it is best to keep the two seperate. This doesn't make sense to me. I would think a good hunting dog is a working dog and a companion.

I know this is a new area for training dogs. Does anyone think a GWP can be trained for tracking reptiles and amphibians? And what about the comment of the companion/family dog and training for tracking?

Thanks.

mnoss
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Leslie Swisher
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Joined: 21 Oct 2002
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Location: Albuquerque, NM

PostPosted: 05/07/03, 2:25 pm    Post subject: tracking Reply with quote

I've trained dogs to do AKC tracking tests. These tests require the dog to follow the scent path left by a person and indicate things they dropped along the way. There is nothing related to this type of tracking that is incompatible with being a family or companion dog. Actually, I cannot think of any tracking people who have tracking dogs that are NOT also companion dogs.

I do not have any knowledge regarding the training for reptile tracking. I would guess that a dog could be trained to follow just about anything that leaves a scent trail.

A relative who is a K9 unit police officer told me once that some narcotic detection dogs are so "high drive" they are not easy to keep in a home environment. He also said that many dogs used for nose work (e.g. bomb detection, airport security, arson investigation) live with their handler when not on duty.
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 05/08/03, 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been training and working SAR dogs for many years. The first requirement for a working dog is drive. The bigger the drive, the better the working dog. The bigger the drive, the more challenging living with the dog can be. However, the second requirement is a very tight bond with his handler. This can only be achieved through sharing the home and the life with his handler. This has been long recognised and this is the reason why police and army officers alike are asked to bring their dog home with them where they share a perfect normal and happy family life.
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trackindog
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PostPosted: 05/22/03, 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>>I have been training and working SAR dogs for many years

Cheerio - have you done this training with the "typical" SAR dogs or have you trained GWP's for SAR?

I'm also curious as to how well GWP's take to AKC type tracking. I would think very well although I don't think they are very common in this sport.

Ann
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 05/23/03, 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only experience in SAR as well as in life with a GWP, is the one I was privileged to share with mine. Because she was a rescue who had suffered a horrible start in life, I am not sure that I can generalise on the breed for all of her behaviors. However, I did use her in SAR and, where it takes me approximately 2 years to train a Belgian Shepherd, this girl was trained in less than a year. As far as tracking is concerned, I have no hesitation in saying that the breed has all it takes for this sport and more. Putting their nose to the ground is definitely something they do naturally. For SAR, the dog has to air scent, and although my girl had no problem there whatsoever, I am not sure whether her ability came from a need to please me and her observation of our other dogs working or if the GWP has naturally the faculty of sniffing high as well as low. Perhaps some other board members will be able to advise you better on this point. I should also insist on one point: in order for a GWP to make a good SAR dog, he would have to have a lesser pray drive, or hunting instinct, or be extremely obedient. While on a search, it is certainly no time for the SAR dog to forget his duty as a joyfull little rabbit crosses his path... Althouigh my GWP definitely had an issue with cats, she never had any problem with wild animal while on the job.
I however encorage you to start tracking, and, if so is your interest, to join a SAR group. It is a wonderful adventure, one greatly needed by society, and one greatly enjoyed by the dog. There is nothing like the goofy smile on the face of a GWP after a job well done.
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trackindog
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PostPosted: 05/23/03, 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Cheerio! I will keep all this in mind when the new pup comes home!

Ann
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