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Discussion Starter #1
I'd really like to work Rocky on tracking. His nose is unbelievable.

Has anyone here done any work with their dogs tracking? I seem to remember a few doing SAR stuff.

If you have, do you have any good beginners resources? Books, videos, articles online, or personal advice? I'm at a total loss how to start.
 

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If you want to teach a dog to trail, you have to get a scent hound. Brutus is 10 years old and yet sometimes he'll go off on a scent on walks and if we follow it, we'll find a trash can a block or so away.
 

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If you want to teach a dog to trail, you have to get a scent hound. Brutus is 10 years old and yet sometimes he'll go off on a scent on walks and if we follow it, we'll find a trash can a block or so away.
Rocky is an elkhound. :)




TJ...check Kris Crawford's For Pit's Sake site...in the SAR section she has a lot of good links...which will lead you to other good links.

If you want some tips on tracking I can give you as many as you need I've taught tracking for years
I'll take some tips. Im having issues putting her onto scents other than the original one I trained her to seek. Any ideas on how to look for things other than my son?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
If you want to teach a dog to trail, you have to get a scent hound. Brutus is 10 years old and yet sometimes he'll go off on a scent on walks and if we follow it, we'll find a trash can a block or so away.
Um....... yeah, I have a scenthound.

TJ...check Kris Crawford's For Pit's Sake site...in the SAR section she has a lot of good links...which will lead you to other good links.
Bookmarked, will take a gander later.

I've done shutzhund tracking, but thats kinda boring. I have been thinking of ordering these tracking videos from leerburg.

http://leerburg.com/205.htm, http://leerburg.com/208.htm

They look interesting, and it looks like more fun the step by step tracking.
I'll take a look, thanks!
 

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If you want to teach a dog to trail, you have to get a scent hound. Brutus is 10 years old and yet sometimes he'll go off on a scent on walks and if we follow it, we'll find a trash can a block or so away.
Well, if you ever lose your trash can - you know you'll be able to find it with Brutus by your side :D


I don't know if Wally can track. I'm going to have to check those links and see if I can get some ideas. Maybe at least could make a game out of it.
 

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All dogs have the ability to track and trail scent. Tracking is following scent on the ground, trailing is following scent in the air. Some dogs are better than others. Scent hounds have been bred for deep, cold noses, meaning they excel at tracking faint, old scents. Their big ears help funnel scents to their noses. Other dogs have shallower, hotter noses.

Norwegian Elkhounds are not scent hounds or even in the hound group. They are in the spitz group. They have been bred for herding and for hunting large, dangerous game. They hunt by scent tracking and hold the game at bay while the hunters approach. A Norwegian Elkhound should be a natural at scent tracking, and it is very likely that see your dog doing this all the time on walks, without realizing that's what he's doing. Setting it up as a job for the dog can be very satisfying for the dog.

The trick is to get the dog to track the scents you want him to track. Like anything else, you train this by making it more rewarding for the dog to follow the scents you want him to follow than to engage in other behaviors.

Beginner training can be started using scent patches to lay an easy track in a low-distraction area, short interval between patches, with a high-value food reward on each patch. Wait a short time, and bring the dog to the start of the hot trail. Some trainers use flags to mark the trail, avoid this because it can teach the dog to follow the flags rather than the scent trail. You also want to make sure you avoid training the dog to follow your track rather than the target scent. When the dog gets off-track, bring him back to the track and encourage him to get "back to work." When the dog is working short hot tracks reliably, gradually generalize to other scent pictures, increasing difficulty, work colder tracks, fainter trackss, work other low-distraction areas, gradually increase distraction levels, and fade the built-in food rewards in favor of handler-delivered rewards. Be patient, go slowly, only work one parameter at a time, and reward richly.

When the difficulty or distraction are too much, your dog gets bored or frustrated, always end the session on a successful note. Get your dog into a sit-stay, walk short distance from him along the original track you laid, drop a scent patch (make sure he doesn't see this), and encourage him to give it one more try. When he finds the "gimme", big reward, big praise, and let him know the work is over and he can relax.

Since it's an innate and self-rewarding behavior, it should be pretty easy to train the actual scent tracking part. Actual real-world tracking is a lot more than that though. Off-leash control is always more challenging, and since Norwegian Elkhounds are bred to work independently at great distance you can expect this to be one of the more challenging aspects.

Leerburg has absolutely horrible info on dog training, I wouldn't recommend following any of their advice or buying any of their products.
 

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The SAR team we belong to has many breeds including my 2 Cairn Terriers and one of them is exceptional at it and on her way to certification. We have mixed breeds, Collies (awesome SAR dogs) goldens, curs, and the list can go on. Any dog can do it..it is if the dog has a will to want to do it.

Cat excellent post.
 

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Well, if you ever lose your trash can - you know you'll be able to find it with Brutus by your side :D


I don't know if Wally can track. I'm going to have to check those links and see if I can get some ideas. Maybe at least could make a game out of it.
I don't doubt that for a second. We go out for a walk and he ends up walking up to sniff every trash can we pass it seems. It cracks me up. Walking along and all of a sudden he veers off course right for a dumpster.

I think all dogs have some tracking ability just because they have noses that are better than ours. The thing is some dogs are just better at it than others because of their breed, disposition, age, etc....... Brutus is a basset and I have no doubt could out track Zero any day of the week even though Zero is much, much, younger. I'm also fairly certain that Zero being a cocker spaniel will probably never be a top line tracking dog. I would like to teach him toach him to track some day though.

I've heard it's easiest to teach a dog to track by having him work alongside a trained tracking dog, but I don't know if you've got one available or one you can borrow. The biggest part of tracking is really training the handler to trust the dog IMO. We don't have a nose anywhere as good as our dogs so we take their word for it that they're on the right track.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
All dogs have the ability to track and trail scent. Tracking is following scent on the ground, trailing is following scent in the air. Some dogs are better than others. Scent hounds have been bred for deep, cold noses, meaning they excel at tracking faint, old scents. Their big ears help funnel scents to their noses. Other dogs have shallower, hotter noses.

Norwegian Elkhounds are not scent hounds or even in the hound group. They are in the spitz group. They have been bred for herding and for hunting large, dangerous game. They hunt by scent tracking and hold the game at bay while the hunters approach. A Norwegian Elkhound should be a natural at scent tracking, and it is very likely that see your dog doing this all the time on walks, without realizing that's what he's doing. Setting it up as a job for the dog can be very satisfying for the dog.

The trick is to get the dog to track the scents you want him to track. Like anything else, you train this by making it more rewarding for the dog to follow the scents you want him to follow than to engage in other behaviors.

Beginner training can be started using scent patches to lay an easy track in a low-distraction area, short interval between patches, with a high-value food reward on each patch. Wait a short time, and bring the dog to the start of the hot trail. Some trainers use flags to mark the trail, avoid this because it can teach the dog to follow the flags rather than the scent trail. You also want to make sure you avoid training the dog to follow your track rather than the target scent. When the dog gets off-track, bring him back to the track and encourage him to get "back to work." When the dog is working short hot tracks reliably, gradually generalize to other scent pictures, increasing difficulty, work colder tracks, fainter trackss, work other low-distraction areas, gradually increase distraction levels, and fade the built-in food rewards in favor of handler-delivered rewards. Be patient, go slowly, only work one parameter at a time, and reward richly.

When the difficulty or distraction are too much, your dog gets bored or frustrated, always end the session on a successful note. Get your dog into a sit-stay, walk short distance from him along the original track you laid, drop a scent patch (make sure he doesn't see this), and encourage him to give it one more try. When he finds the "gimme", big reward, big praise, and let him know the work is over and he can relax.

Since it's an innate and self-rewarding behavior, it should be pretty easy to train the actual scent tracking part. Actual real-world tracking is a lot more than that though. Off-leash control is always more challenging, and since Norwegian Elkhounds are bred to work independently at great distance you can expect this to be one of the more challenging aspects.

Leerburg has absolutely horrible info on dog training, I wouldn't recommend following any of their advice or buying any of their products.
Thanks for all the advice!

The only thing I disagree on is elkhounds not being scenthounds. Mine, at least, shows as much if not more interest in scent than every true scenthound I've ever encountered. If given a choice between putting them in the hound or spitz group, i'd put them in spitz too. The rest of their body and personality is all spitz, but the nose is definitely hound.
 

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Thanks for all the advice!

The only thing I disagree on is elkhounds not being scenthounds. Mine, at least, shows as much if not more interest in scent than every true scenthound I've ever encountered. If given a choice between putting them in the hound or spitz group, i'd put them in spitz too. The rest of their body and personality is all spitz, but the nose is definitely hound.
He is correct though that elkhounds aren't scenthounds. This is just a fact regardless of whether you agree or disagree. That doesn't mean they can't track by scent though. GSDs aren't scenthounds either, but are routinely trained to track by scent in SAR operations.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
He is correct though that elkhounds aren't scenthounds. This is just a fact regardless of whether you agree or disagree. That doesn't mean they can't track by scent though. GSDs aren't scenthounds either, but are routinely trained to track by scent in SAR operations.
You ever met an elkhound before? A gsd can track very well, but they don't act like a hound. Elkhounds have the nose, and use it exactly like a hound.

Either way it's a dumb conversation. He scents as obsessively as a hound, but looks like a spitz, so he's a spitz.
 

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Norwegian Elkhounds are not scent hounds or even in the hound group.
Norwegian Elkhounds are definitely spitzes, but if they're not also hounds, why does the AKC put them in the hound group? (look right before the Breed Standard section)

I'm not trying to be argumentative; I'm just confused. As far as I know, they were bred to hunt moose by scenting. Doesn't that make them a scent hound?

I guess the fundamental question I'm asking is "what makes a hound a hound?"
 

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Simplistically, a hound is a dog bred to track or chase game. Looking at the NE's history, I see no reason why it wouldn't be considered a hound.
 

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Perhaps this might clear it up.

Quote. The Norwegian Elkhound was originally a Viking dog and is believed to have existed since about 5000 BC. It has been used throughout history for a variety of purposes from hunting moose and big game through to herding and guarding. It is believed that the original dogs of the breed were skeletally very similar to the current breed and it is considered to be one of the oldest breeds of domestic dogs.

The Norwegian Elkhound hunts by scent and can actually smell game several miles away. They use their piercing and rather high pitched bark to alert the hunters, then scent track the game until they find it. The Norwegian Elkhound has been known to track for days at a time, barking to keep the hunter's aware of its position. They traditionally hunted in small packs, surrounding the moose or game animal and then barking to alert hunters that they had the game at bay. Despite what the name suggestions, the Norwegian Elkhound was originally used to hunt moose, which, in Norwegian, is pronounced "elg". The Norwegian Elkhound has also be used to hunt bear, badger, caribou, reindeer and rabbits.

The Norwegian Elkhound in more recent times has been used as a watch dog, guard dog and sled dog. In its homeland of Norway there is still a law that allows the Minister of Defense to draft all of the breed located in the country in times of war should they be needed for transportation purposes. Unquote.

They are one of the ultimate trackers and leave most hounds in the dust and was one of the very first 'original' hounds even though it is a member of the spitz family. The hound as a group is relatively new where the 'Elkie' is ancient.
 

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Leerburg has absolutely horrible info on dog training, I wouldn't recommend following any of their advice or buying any of their products.
The videos I linked to are not leerburgs training, they are videos of how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police train their dogs to track. Leerburg just shot the video. The RCMP have an excellent success rate compared to other training programs with "catching the bad guy" when they bring their dogs out to track them.
 
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