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Categories: Police or S&R Tracking

Q. My 10 month old female is not picking the food up as she tracks. What should I do?
Hi Ed!!

My husband and I recently purchased quite a few of your videos and I must say that I have learned so very much from them. I do have a tracking question for you though. My 7 month old GSD bitch does not pick up the food drops. She'll put her nose on it and then pass it by. I was thinking that she's just looking forward to the "payoff" at the end, so instead of putting her food there I have replaced her supper with a toy, hoping that she'd start picking up the bait again. so far it's a no go with that plan. I started her tracking at 10 weeks ("find it" games with food) and this behavior of leaving things on the track has been going on for about a month. I've even tried snake patterns, zig zags, "split tracks" where I step off to one side and lay a track there for about 10 paces before returning to the original track line and she was just fine through all of that. Would you take this to mean that she's past the point where she "needs" the food? Do you think a food drag would be in order for her? I'm a little stumped...Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

Roten Haus Shepherds

A. I think trainers have a tendency to worry too much.

Remember what your goal is “TO TRAIN A TRACKING DOG” not TO TRAIL A DOG TO EAT ON THE TRACK. And important distinction. If your dog is doing a good job of tracking then its not important to pick up the food. If the dog is not tracking then we need food to bring the dog back to the track.

A food drag is OK, I like them, use them and recommend them. It’s also OK to rotate drags for food on the track. DO WHAT WORKS. Using cooked liver for the food on the track will cause almost every dog to eat it. Only feeding the dog on the track is a must in my opinion – on the days that you track. Then if the dog does not track you put the dog away. No argument, no force no nothing – just put the dog away – it always helps to let the dog see another dog eat the food you had sitting out for it.

Also use really good food at the end of the track – not kibble – who can like dry shit kibble. I feed an all-natural diet and the dogs sit up and pay attention for that.

Obviously I assume you do not over feed (like most Americans)

Remember your dog is still a puppy. Don’t push the envelope in making the tracks too difficult just because YOU want to do it.
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