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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
River and I are working on learning some tracking. Mostly just as a hobby, but possibly we will go for TD title and see about others. Any way, we have started out by putting treats in each foot print and River follows the track to the end. My question is at what point do I phase out the treats. Do I work on expanding the distance first then phase out the treats, or do I phase out the treats then increase the distance? Should I introduce turns before phasing out the treats or add treats back later when introducing the turns?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
 

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I meet once a week with a friend to track--our goal also is to get a TD on our dogs by the end of the year. We're also on a tracking email list run by a couple of AKC tracking judges.

Everything that I have read says that you should phase out the treats first, then increase distance, then introduce turns.

My friend and I are at the stage where we are introducing turns. We are adding treats at the turns, however. What we are doing is laying the track around 3 or 4 times over the turn, to make sure there is a nice pool of scent around it to give our dogs every opportunity to pick up the turn.

We both use treats as a reward when our dogs find the article at the end of the track. Have you introduced an article yet? We both use a glove and when our dogs find the glove at the end of the track, we have a big party and give a treat at that time.

At the beginning, I did use treats at each flag to encourage Mac to stay on the track--she was so eager to track that she just tugged me right over the treats on to the glove. I did not use the treats on the track after that--as I recall, I only did that a couple of times. I have been using treats as a reward for article indication.

Hope this helps and anyone with a TD can chime in! Good luck--tracking is so much fun--I enjoy it and so does Mac--I also enjoy it with a tracking buddy because we can critique each other and what our dog is picking up on, and give each other tips on what to work on for the next track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your help! We have been using articles. I have been having him lay down at the article, so it is more traditional just in case I do decide to get into Search and Rescue, although I don't know if that will happen. River seems to be getting the concept of tracking which is great!
 

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It depends also if you are following any specific plan....I love the theory of Steve White's HITT method.... but there are a lot of wya more popular tracking books that have specifics on phasing out food/adding in turns, etc.

How long are your tracks now? You probably would be able to decrease the amount of food (, more steps between food drops) now.... people typically add in food when turns are itnroduced, like posted above. Also note the type of terrain you are using...esp with taller grass it seems to be more typical for food to be phased out faster (.....more scent from brushing the grass and the crushed p=ieces, etc). But at the same time....we tend to underestimate the dog's ability to scent and how 'smelly' we silly humans are!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've never actually measured the length, but they started out quite short, probably about 10 ft. and now they are about 20-30 ft.

I did try two tracks yesterday and started phasing the treats out. He did quite well on the first one, and the second one he lost the track when it went over a pile of bark spread out on the ground, but found it again and finished to the end.
 

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That's great!

You know your pup best, and what is the best combination of challenges and games to maintain enthusiasm and eliminate boredom. I know with my golden, I would want to work up to the challenge of obstacles like bark or concrete paths with lots of smelly treats, to make sure there is success.

For a TD, and I'd have to check the rules, but I think that all the tracks would be on the same surface--TDX (and of course, VST) he would encounter different surfaces. I know you're considering search and rescue, which is an entirely different animal--and you're probably going to want to see if there is anyone in your area who does search and rescue (even with another breed) and see how they train (I am guessing it might be different for a TD--but that's just a guess).
 

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B.J. and the Kohana Kids
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I am not sure I understand your question, but if you're asking what I think you're asking, then my advice is to increase the distance between food drops before introducing too much more. I dont introduce corners until I can do 100yds without a food drop, and the dog is solid and understands the game. But that is my personal rule of thumb. How long are your tracks now? Distance should not be an issue to build once the dog understands what they're doing. But I do know TCH dogs that still get the occational food drop on their tracks. The thinking is that it keeps them interested, and they never know when they might find some goodies. Granted, not every track. A good indication that your dog understands the game is when they start to ignore the food drops and go for the jackpot (the article). I found with Sydney, there was no point to the occational piece of food on the track, because for her, the reward was in finding the article. And it was way too much hassle for no point for me to worry about dropping food. I think it depends on the dog though, and if your dog needs the occational food drop, then do it. There is no harm in it.

I love tracking and started only as "something cool to teach my dog" with Sydney 5 yrs ago. I've entertained the idea of doing a TDX with her, but unfortunately it is very hard up here to get into a test (we dont use a draw system in Canada). I'm okay with that though and we just play. It is such a neat thing, to ask your dog to follow a scent for such a distance and for them, its such a simple task. As one gentleman that I attended a seminar with said, its a double solid yellow line to the dog.

Good luck! BJ
 

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Hi

You should slowly decrease the food drops on the track. Hopefully the dog will start passing up the food on the track in hopes of hurrying for the jackpot treat at the glove. I have trained one golden and he passed up all treats all he wanted was to find the glove which he retrieved and carried in his mouth.

We have a new puppy Bailey, 6 months old, and I have been tracking with him probably since he was 3 or 4 months old. He wants food in the glove and is not particularly interested in retrieving the glove without food. I just took him last Friday and had him certified by an AKC judge so he can now enter an AKC sanctioned tracking test. He actually retrieved the glove on the certification track. Some dogs are slow trackers others like Bailey run the track.
 
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