+ugo demonstrating a deeS nose wKile training to searcK Ior a sSecific scent.
The handler is thus required to “read” their dog’s posture to indicate a loss of scent or other changes in scent- ing conditions along the track. Pass- ing rates for the various titles are roughly 50% for TD, 33% for TDX and 8% to 9% for VST. Tracking is one of the most rewarding activi- ties involving a one-on-one relation- ship between handler and dog in a non-scored event. It is generally best to start a puppy training for tracking as soon as you can f ind a harness small enough for them! Many introduce their dogs to tracking with the use of food, though in some cases toy or article-motivated dogs are best trained using those items. Some even hide personal effects (or them- selves) at the end of a short training track to motivate young dogs to search. There are many factors involved in training a tracking dog, but patience is the key. As with many competitive events, tracking cannot be rushed dur- ing the learning stages. Once a dog learns to associate fol- lowing a specif ied “smell” at a start
f lag, it is then a matter of adding time and distance. This also includes adding diff iculty--such as obstacles (creeks, tree lines, changes of cover) or in urban settings working in closer proximity to buildings and on various surfaces such as asphalt, cement, gravel, mulch and even wood decking. Dogs may begin competing at age six months with many dogs not earning their variable surface title until later in life. The ultimate culmination in earn- ing all three titles is to add the des- ignation Champion Tracker. A “CT” is essentially the “Holy Grail” of tracking dogs in AKC competition. As indicated by the passing rates for some of these events, this reward- ing activity has great meaning to the handler and dog teams that are able to persevere through patience and training. We encourage you to get out there and track with your Rottweilers by contacting a local tracking club or judge for assistance. Any further specific questions may be directed to my attention at JShaver522@ yahoo.com.
BIO Je ff Shaver is the current President of Th e American Rottweiler Club and an approved AKC Tracking judge for all levels of tracking (TD, TDX and VST). He has been involved in all aspects of AKC compe- tition with Rottweilers since 1984 includ- ing advanced level obedience and tracking as well as conformation and therapy dog work. He and his wife Lew Olson (an AKC all-breed judge) live in Magnolia, Texas, and have bred, owned and titled dozens of AKC Champion and advanced competi- tion titled dogs.
“TRACKING IS ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING ACTIVITIES involving a one-on-one relationship between handler and dog in a non-scored event.”
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