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Do you train for following a Scent Trail?

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  • What is following a Scent Trail?

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Discussion Starter #1
I know that most folks who run in NAHRA train for following a scent trail. How many of you train for it?
 

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You wanna see an excited dog? cut loose a wingstripped duck into thick cover. that's entertainment!
 

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Most don't have a clue....................still a valid testing venue in NAHRA and NFRA.......................a skill a dawg must have......................but never thought about
 

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Discussion Starter #5
NO altering of the bird

bigjimthunder said:
You wanna see an excited dog? cut loose a wingstripped duck into thick cover. that's entertainment!
In NAHRA, (if a live bird is used), the bird cannot be altered. NO wingclip, NO wingstrip, NO shackles, NO wing tape..................Just a bird.

But sometimes, a dead bird is drug, sometimes a live bird is drug -- and sometimes a live bird is drug and at the end of the drag, a live bird is released to go "where ever".
 

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I voted yes, I "train" for it but that should read I ?trained? for it. I taught the command ?find it.? Once he showed he understood the command and what it meant it appears no further training was necessary. He understands how to follow a scent trail. I haven?t trained for it since.

Joe Miano
 
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I've never trained on it (although I have a MH bitch that was SAR trained, so she does trail, but not specifically trained to do it hunting), but all of my dogs will trail a runaway bird.

I guess theoretically we do "train" them for it because when we go on pheasant shoots or the like, we'll send young (and older) dogs off into the cover to hunt up birds. At first, they look at you like "huh?" and then once they get a whiff of one, it's all over and they realize what you mean when you say hunt it up.

-Kristie
 

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I trained for it very little... just enough to get the commands down so the dog knew he was on a trail. It's counter productive to most other training we do and most dogs do it naturally, a little practice is all they need.

Shayne
 

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I trained for it only after failing at intermediate. When hunting, my dog would trail a cripple very nicely. At a test, when commanded to trail it would run out to the end of gun range and stop and look at me. When hunting I would of course be following along but at a test with my feet cemented to the ground next to the judges we fail. Then the more I attempted to pressure her the more she would shut me off (a Chesapeake thing). So, long story short, now we come up to the judges and are released and I say to my dog "where is the duck" in a questioning tone of voice, and she scampers off and brings it to me. Funny, last test we ran was the one I chaired here in Vermont. I come up knowing where the trail was exactly. Got to the feather pile and asked "where's the duck?". She takes off backwards like a rocket. Disappears into the underbrush and comes back with the bird. Both judges looked at each other and said "drag back!" That was her second intermediate leg!
Ken Bora
 

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Trail

I am gonna be honest, I hate the trail. My dog besides blowing past the short marks (thinking it is a field trial) does not do well in the trail. She loves the upland (I think she is amazing to watch) but the trail she sucks. We have trained for it. The problem that she has is she doesn't want to get to far away from me with just her nose. She knows it isn't a blind, she lined three of four in the last senior doubleheader. She will trail 40yrds or so and pop or lose confidence in herself. Any suggestions? The other thing that makes it hard is that I train mostly with FT people who have FC-AFC's and they probably would shoot me if I wanted to do a trail in training.

Lee
 

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Nope-never trained for it. Kate & I used to do tracking & I was going to get her TD (AKC tracking title), but she pulls into the harness so hard that she injured her shoulder & we had to stop. Consequently, she knew "Find it".

I went to (Angie B is going to post that I'm being long winded again-ha!) my first NAHRA Intermediate never having seen one or trained for one. We did the marks & were called to the trail. I explained to everyone that I'd never seen one & I was going to scratch & watch. I was mercilessly egged on to run her & I did. It was a beautiful thing! To this day the trail is like her birthday & Christmas-she loves it.

That said-I have to say that any hunting dog should be able to run a trail & it's common knowledge that very few dogs go out on the trail.

M
 

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Oh crap! I just saw the posts re: dogs needing help w/ the trail & I don't mean to sound cavalier. I just do think it should be a "basic instinct" type test. It's "all about the dog". The handler just sets 'em on the feather pile & hangs on for the ride!
M
 

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Miriam Wade said:
Oh crap! I just saw the posts re: dogs needing help w/ the trail & I don't mean to sound cavalier. I just do think it should be a "basic instinct" type test. It's "all about the dog". The handler just sets 'em on the feather pile & hangs on for the ride!
M
Ha ha, Miriam...I think you were referring to MY post!! :oops: Several people at a NAHRA test had told me that trailing shouldn't be a problem...just a dog putting its nose to the ground...yada, yada, yada.

So, the first time we set one up, I figured...NO PROBLEM!! Yeah, right. The doofuses looked at me like, "What the heck??" It was only after 2 solid weeks of doing 5-6 or more trails per day that they finally caught on. They started out following the scent for a little bit, then losing it and then just running all over he!!. A couple of times we walked the trail with them, pointing to the ground where the scent was every few feet if they seemed to lose focus. A few times they even started running around the field, winded the pile and went to it....NOT along the trail. But oh well...at least they got the bird. And it seemed to click.

But like my buddy Keith says, "Who knows how dogs use their noses on following a trail??" Then he 'splained the difference between trailing and tracking. :D

We haven't done any for a week or so, so it will be interesting to see how much they retained the next time we drag one. (They do much better when we use ducksicles, rather than a scent-drenched rag or bumper).

Hopefully we'll be ready for NAHRA intermediate in the fall...

--Nicki
 

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Miriam Wade said:
Oh crap! I just saw the posts re: dogs needing help w/ the trail & I don't mean to sound cavalier. I just do think it should be a "basic instinct" type test. It's "all about the dog". The handler just sets 'em on the feather pile & hangs on for the ride!
M
the hardest thing I had to overcome was the mistake of actually hunting the dog and teaching her to stay in gun range. Then asking her to follow her nose out of gun range at a test. She would pop and look at me as if to say" I smell it over here what are you waiting for". Now I could handle her out farther but you cannot handle on the trail. So I had to do some un-training and used a command change like I said from telling her to get the duck to asking her where the duck was. It is a totally natural instinct that is set up often in an unnatural way for the purpose of testing twenty dogs. I had to set up simple short trails to about gun range distance and then slowly lengthen and add turns. That said, in actual hunting situations this has made her even more enthusiastic about sniffing things out.
Ken
 

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That said-I have to say that any hunting dog should be able to run a trail & it's common knowledge that very few dogs go out on the trail.

M[/quote]

Ah, but when actually hunting with the dog how often would you let your dog run our away from you, turn into cover and disappear, without you following it? If you were hunting with the dog you are with your dog. Not standing with the two strangers with clip boards. This is exactly my point of a natural instinct being judged in a unnatural way. This is exactly why a good hunting dog will not always be a good test dog. While other dogs that rarely hunt will stomp a test setup any given weekend.
Ken
 

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no

When I went to my first nahra trial in inter. Ever time the dog would get to the duck, It would kind of fly up, Every time it went up my dog sat. When she would catch up to it again it would fly my dog would set. Finally the judge said will she she pick it up. I told him that the only thing that I have been working on has been sit to flush. She never did I never passed.
 

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The 'trail' when properly done can be a challenging test for most dawgs. The dawg is basically brought to the area of the fall and 'on command' given the 'hunt dead' signal.
The dawgs on it's own......handler is secondary..................
Great test of reading old versus new scent.....riding the wind....recovering to find the bird................and not a given 10 points...........I have dropped many a dawg on the trailing portion of the tests.........

Especially love turnin' a duck lose in the woods and swamps...........dawg either gets it or don't..........may be gone for 15 minutes or so...............the fun of it all.................
 

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Shayne Mehringer said:
I trained for it very little... just enough to get the commands down so the dog knew he was on a trail. It's counter productive to most other training we do and most dogs do it naturally, a little practice is all they need.

Shayne
I remember when you put the trail out for Bailey when Fred was here. As we were shooting the breeze, there goes Sara on the trail but there was no duck at the end.

Jerry
 

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Taffey has trained for it, but we've never been in a test where is was judged. The trailing seems to be a pretty basic test for a dog that has hunted a lot. Funny story about "trailing". Taffey was only just starting blinds and I had walked in a huge circular path to hide a duck. After getting back to the truck, I let her out to air. After rearranging some buckets and equipment, I turned to see the Taffey was no where to be found. I started to walk up the path to the field where the blind had been planted and here comes Taffey with the duck. After a bit of wondering I followed my footsteps in the dew. She had traced my steps out and came back on that same circular path. I doesn't take long for a pup to discover the use of their nose.

One should, also, be aware of the distinction between a "trailing" test and a "search". I have been told to do a "search" the typical testing procedure would be to toss a duck into the water, watch it swim to the bank and "wander" off inland. The dog is not brought to the line until the duck is out of sight. The place where the bird "beaches" is typically 30-40 yards downwind of the line the dog is sent on. There best search requires no handling after the initial sending of the dog. The dog must swim to the other side of the pond with the wind blowing scent away and downwind from where he lands and search (on his own) until the duck is found or the judges recall. The basic difference is there is no trail to follow unless the dog finds it and you can't handle him.

The versatile handlers say (at least the one I know) that because our Labs are so dependent on being handled, at least to the area of the fall, that a "search" is not something a highly skilled handling Lab can handle. If you train for "search", how would it impact the retriever tests where control TO the bird/blind is the focus?
 

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Ken-
I agree with part of your post because hunt tests aren't natural situations, but...
...you mention that you wouldn't be inclined to send the dog off out of gun range. There are situations where you would do exactly that & where a dog can be both a good test dog & good hunting dog.

We were training w/ live flyers once & had a no-bird situation. Handler chose to send the dog, but bird had gone into the trees/bushes & this young dog couldn't get it. We sent Kate in & had the bird back in short order. It was her job to find the bird independent of me & in this instance it was cover where I couldn't get in & help her if I'd wanted to.

I've also hit a pheasant & had it sail only to come down & hit the ground running. A dog that marks the bird & will follow the trail from there means the difference between a bird in the bag & supper for a fox.

The best thing about a versatile dog is that they know the difference between the jobs they're given. If they're quartering-yes-stay in gun range. If they're trailing-get out there & don't come back w/out the bird.
M
 
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