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Tracking to fast in Schutzhund

(problem solving ideas) My mali tracked embarrassingly fast before I was on the road to correcting this problem working with YYY. Like I mentioned, suggestions such as more food, incredibly tasty food, pinch, double lines, butt strap, more intricate corners, tiny articles, etc., etc. came from some very accomplished trainers. I dabbled with allot of different handling techniques, but they were only temporary fixes. So, in a nutshell, YYY immediately saw that any sort of restraining (blocking of line, even on a pinch) was just going to make the problem worse, as would compulsion. Setting him up with articles, intricate corners, etc. would make him even more frantic, too. On the first session over a long weekend, he had me lay a short track with quite a bit of food on the scent pad. He walked with me with my dog from the car (flat collar) and made sure I was giving no indication that we were tracking. If Filo starting pulling toward the flag, or onto the field, he had me stop and feed him. We made it up to the scent pad and platzed him about 6 feet from it. I platzed my dog and walked fifteen feet away (laterally to the right) and turned my back. We stayed like this forever, it seemed. When about five minutes went by, YYY said to very casually turn my back and give a very smooth motion with my hand to indicate that it was alright to track (say nothing). Filo just sat there, so I repeated that to the dog a few seconds later. My dog hesitantly got up and started tracking (kind of...high nose, confused), as I sat there like a fool with my back to him fifteen feet away. The track was short, and I picked him up a the end and took him back to the car. I thought this was weird, and you could see that look on face WWW's thinking, "Those malinois people are really fruity like their dogs." About 15 minutes later, we repeated the session, this time it was a little better. It was hard to see him stop and raise his head without being able to do anything. YYYfelt that a vocal reminder at this point would revert him back to the rushing behavior. At the completion of that track, we did another. The third resembled a tracking dog, but it was still a short track and he wasn't intense. The second day, we started with a similar track. The next track was longer, and we started to anticipate where he might get rushy, etc. By now, he was tracking slower, but still not intense. Since this track was longer, and I gave no help with the line concerning tension, Filo raised his head and stopped out of frustration (he would never stop before, as I always had a slight tension in the line). I was not allowed to tell him "such" (which was my first reaction), give tension...nothing. Eventually, he would go back to tracking. The same applied if he went off the track....I typically do not allow his behavior (either through blocking the line with the young dog, and not allowing them to go forward until they indicate the track without question, or a correction). Even if he went 10 feet off the track, I did nothing. So, basically, the dog was going back and learning to work on his own. This separated the trigger of the behavior (me causing him totracking dog rush) from the dog. I did this type of tracking for a week or so (it would get better all the time). I eventually went back to tracking as I normally did, but was aware that I didn't want to trigger the rushing behavior. Now, he is a much, much slower and precise tracker (he got 92 at the World Championships in Germany this year at three years old). I track him with a pinch only and have worked on my handling of the line where I constantly "wiggle" the line, vs. slight pops. And remember, speed is not judged.....as long as it is consistent and the dog doesn't make a mistake then you are fine. Oh, BTW, he was already a SchH 3 with an SG score overall before we ever went to work with YYY I hope I explained this particular scenario.....the core of the problem was the trigger of the behavior, not the dog's drive for the track.  http://www.schutzhund-training.net/

 


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