Why is my dog missing articles on the track?
A common problem in tracking is that the dog misses the articles, or ignores them while tracking. We often get questions about this and then try to find a solution. With this problem it is first of all important to find out why the dog misses the articles on the track. There can be several reasons. The dog may not have smelled the articles, or he has smelled it but wants to continue tracking.
When we train our dogs for tracking, we sometimes have this problem as well. However, we see this as a "positive problem", but which is also a bit strange for us. When building our tracking system, we always train our dogs to indicate an article first. As soon as they can do this, we pull the dogs in small steps away from the article. This makes the dog want to go to the object each time, which gives him his reward. By increasing the distance to the article, we teach our dogs how to track within a few weeks.
The problem arises later
Despite the fact that the dog has been taught that indicate the article gives him his reward, we often see a problem arise after a few months. During tracking, the dog does smell the article, but he wants to continue tracking. This is because the dog starts to like tracking more than indicate the article.
Because the dog has smelled the article, but is driven to continue tracking, we call this a positive problem. But of course this is something we need to solve because we want our dogs to find all articles. Not only for sport, but also for tracking for practical work.
The problem is often clearly explained
Often in other systems we see that this problem has an obvious cause. In many systems, articles are placed on the track, but the track ends with a big reward. This big reward, for example a ball or bite-roll, is then placed at the end of the track. The articles on the track are then totally unimportant to the dog, as he only wants to continue to the end of the track to get his big reward.
In these cases, the problem is easily solved by taking away the big reward at the end of the track. It is then better to reward the dog with the big reward when he finds the articles during tracking. So he is rewarded maximally each time and then the tracking is continued. This will give the dog enormous motivation to find and indicate the articles.
Always find the cause first
So is your dog missing articles on the track? Then it is first important to find out the cause and then come up with a solution. This solution is not always the same and there are several possibilities. For members of our Online Training School, this instructional video is available that explains these problems and solutions.