Why You Should Trust Your Dog While Tracking
Teaching your dog to track can be a challenging yet ultimately rewarding experience. At Dog Training Dick Staal, we always recommend starting with training on your own scent and walking the tracks yourself. This has multiple benefits, such as autonomy, familiarity with the scent, and knowledge of the trail. However, once tracking is established and you start training with other trackers, there's one key piece of advice we always give: trust your dog.
Why Start With Your Own Scent?
Training with your own scent has several advantages:
- Autonomy: You are not reliant on others and can train whenever you please.
- Scent Familiarity: The scent is very familiar to the dog, making the learning process smoother.
- Track Knowledge: Knowing the exact location and direction of the track aids in training the dog effectively.
The Importance of Trust
Once your dog has learned tracking, you can start training with other trackers and eventually conduct "double blind" tracks, where neither the handler nor the dog knows the track's direction. This is when trusting your dog becomes paramount.
An Insightful Example
I recall an incident with a handler and his dog whom I had trained for tracking using our system. In a forest, I had set a long track for him with multiple objects. Both did splendidly with the dog tracking with precision and focus. At one point, the dog lay down, signaling an item on the track, though I was certain no object was there. The handler missed it but rightly rewarded his dog.
When he wanted to continue and pick up the supposed item, he looked at me, perplexed, seeing nothing. I then remembered that while setting the track, I had accidentally shed a piece of my nail, inadvertently tossing it onto the track. The dog, being so well-trained and attentive, found the nail fragment bearing the same scent as the track and gave a convincing alert. This highlighted the importance of trusting your dog, even when you think they might be mistaken.
This dog is trained to indicate even tiny objects bearing human scent
The Significance of Proper Training
This incident underscores the significance of proper training and having faith in your dog. Had I informed the handler there wasn't an object, he might have wrongly corrected his dog for something it did correctly. This could induce stress and have negative training implications. Instead, the dog's alert was spot on, proving right in the end.
Online Courses for All
This tracking method is teachable to anyone through our online courses. Here, you'll grasp the tracking basics and train your dog to be successful.
Tracking demands patience, the right techniques, and faith in your dog. With the appropriate methods, any dog can excel in this vital task.
Want to Learn More?
Ever doubt if your dog's doing right while tracking? Keen to learn more about tracking and training your dog? Explore our online course or reach out to us for further details.