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Old 04-13-2009, 03:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Box tracking

One of the things that people do not care for in schutzhund, is tracking. Box tracking is a method I use that helps put a good tracking foundation on a pup, and takes very little time/space. This method is used quite extensively in Europe.
Basically you set up a area of 4 foot by 4 foot, in the shape of a square. You put up flags, in the four corners, then flatten the area all down by stomping with your feet. You put the dog's food (wet the food down ahead of time) of one meal in that area, spread out in the square. You put the dog on a leash in that area, and keep saying "Find it", several times. This will teach the dog that the crushed vegetation area holds the reward. If they go outside the box, they soon realize there is no food. You can start a pup at this, as early as 8 weeks. If the dog does not search for the food, I put him up, and then try again for his 2nd meal, later that day. You can use this method with dogs with low food drive, and older dogs too. I like a dog to have clear idea of what it is doing, before I go into the footstep tracking.
I will put up some video later this week of this type of box tracking. I am using it on an older dog, that has been sitting around for awhile. He has had footstep tracking, but i want to reinforce some foundation work.
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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thanks for posting, i use this style of traking also. im acatually doing it now
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Great post, I too use this method. I did go to a seminar with Bernhard Flinks and he had some interesting insight on how dogs smell. He was lucky enough to to get in a convention with vets talking about how dogs smell. He said it opened his eyes and helped him understand it better.

He said by stomping out the sent pad (the grass or dirt in the box) you are killing the vegetation and breaking it down. (nothing new here) but before that underground smell starts to come up it takes 15 min for the broken grass and killed organisms to emit odor. I know many people who do not age tracks 15 min in the begining and I know some who do. I think it is really a personal preference but I have found my dogs have a better smell when I age it. I alway age my tracks for my puppy 15 min.
if you are tracking in high grass then the sent pad is a visual area, I would rather start on short grass or dirt so no visual aid is made. I also make sure that the food will not stand out on the ground it should blend in so the dog is not just picking up the food by sight. Also and another good alternative to flags marking out the area is marking chalk. You can buy it for less than 3 bucks at home depot, can of colored chalk. I think it is straight line chalk refill and it comes in different colors and you can mark the corners of your box. That way you are not adding any visual aid for the dog like a flag.

The goal of the box method is to get the dog to smell the underground smell (of your foot print, like the crushed vegetation and dead organisms) and then the food helps him find that smell. Your dog learns that smell gives success with food and once they learn that then you can start doing foot prints. I like to do sent pads for a few weeks so I know my puppy understands what they are doing.

Remember everyone may have a slightly different way of tracking, I like to listen to everyones ideas. I love Bernhard because he likes to learn the science behind the training.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
 

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Howard look for a call from me tonight. Ron and I got something planned that you may want to be part of.

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Old 05-04-2009, 04:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
 

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YES SIR! i did this with kenya... i enjoyed it, and so did she... but like performance, i did let it age about 15min or 20min.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here is a short video of one of my pups box tracking. You can age it if you want. Sometimes do and sometimes I don't. I just want the pup to learn that crushed vegetation is where the reward is. I always age my footstep tracks.


Oikie, I will be home tonight after 9 p.m.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I will have to try this with Legend!
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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i aswell did somethen close, but as everyone is they add change things to suit there needs.

and i must say. so far my terrier is a pretty damn good tracker.

good post
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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when i box track i use 3 or 4 small boxes, instead on one big box as i was told that one large box will cause the dog to go around in circles quite a bit and cause problems down the road. what are your thoughts on this?
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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My boxes are 3' by 4' and have never had an issue. You can work on a box for a few weeks and start making them smaller till you have a small sent pad, then I will gradually lead out dragging my feet to start them on a straight track. I know people who stay on boxes for longs periods of time but I only spend a few weeks on them before going on a straight track.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Great thread. Thanks for the idea of what Vendetta can start doing.



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Old 05-13-2009, 08:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I use box tracking for a beginning tool or for an older dog that lacks food drive. I also find it comes in handy if a person is crunched for time. However, once a dog has a good sense of what they are doing, I would get them into the footstep tracking. If a dog is left in a box too long, it can cause you to have other problems, such as circling or not wanting to leave the scentpad. So, you need to learn to read your dog. If a dog seems to know what it is doing, go into straight footstep tracks. keep them short, and well-baited. Keep the dog motivated. Remember, if a dog does not track, they are not hungy.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
 

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I am glad I found this post! I started the box tracking with my 7 month old Australian Cattle Dog. She is dong really well,and has picked up that there is no food outside the scent pad on our first attempt. It is always cool to see when your pup figures something out.Thanks for posting the info and video.
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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good post im gonna have to try this
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:06 AM   #15 (permalink)
 

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doing tracking method as well and it's working pretty cool, i have all concrete in the backyard and i had some treats, i was stomping out the weeds that was growing threw, and he was sniffin it, i gave some praise, and then i threw him back inside, i then started stomping out a lot more of the weeds and then i started to put a lot of treats outside, it worked real well and he got all the weeds that i stomped out, and he got everything, pretty good, anyone got any suggestions on how i can upgrade with concrete??? haha i know i heard somewhere i can get somekinda coon urine i think i saw an episode of dog whisperer and they got this beagle tracking on it but it was still on grass, im open to suggestions on how to improve.
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