Schutzhund, Search & Rescue, Tracking, Tracking, Wilderness

German Shepherd Training – Food or Fun?

March 16, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Food or Fun

If you go to the Leerburg website, see if you can find his article about the difference in how dogs are trained to meet the RCMP standard versus typical training in the US. It is worth reading.

Historically I trained my dogs with food, gradually weaning off the amount of liver tidbits so my real subject didn’t need to play Hansel and Gretel and leave a trail of hotdog pieces if he wanted to be found. With my high drive dog, I had to go back to food on the track to get him to slow down.

However, we invited Doug Teeft in from Nova Scotia and the people who attended the seminar are still talking about what they learned a year later. He didn’t recommend the hotdog method. Instead we trained out of play drive. A person would disappear downwind with the toy. If the dog wanted to play they had to put their nose down and track. Dogs were finding a quarter pushed into the ground on edge. Down side, you better be in shape because most of the dogs were going to move as fast as you could run on the hot scent.

While it is called tracking, purests would insist it is trailing. The dog is following the strongest scent not the footsteps of the subject. They may over shoot a corner and that is when you learn how well you know your dog and how good a handler you are. How long does it take you to realize the dog is off the scent? With my male dog it’s easy. His head comes off the ground and he casts as for air scent. My female dog is a whole other story. Her head comes up about 2 inches and she works 3 body lengths before turning back to find the scent.

Both systems have value. It is dependent on the personality of your dog and what is the drive you wish to work with that makes the different. For competition I use the hotdog method. For work I use the toy method, but that is just my dogs. Use what works for yours.


4 Responses to “German Shepherd Training – Food or Fun?”
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