Force Track Training (the beginning)
I start with getting the dog to understand the platz for the long down and the article indication. When I train the platz, it is like saying my dog is ready for formal training. Up to this point, it has just been a down and was for fun and a behavioral response.
I start with getting the dog to understand the platz for the long down and the article indication. When I train the platz, it is like saying my dog is ready for formal training. Up to this point, it has just been a down and was for fun and a behavioral response. My dog should have some form of maturity and the three phases should be done to a point were I need this obedience stronger. An example is the long down, the active and capping of drives in protection, or ready for article indication in tracking. This also means that my dog is not sound sensitive and can be approached by people. A Schutzhund dog right! I do as most people say about the puppy down, except I do not let my dog settle to much in the down position. I want there to be excitement and drive, not too much calmness yet. After all, it is a puppy. Also, when I bring the food down for the down exercise I take the food to the dogs feet and then away from his feet, as if making an "L" shape, on the ground about 8 inches away. If I only go straight down, then my dog has a tendency to move his feet back to lay down, or just flat get up. (My goal at this time is to make the dogs elbows hit as fast as possible on the floor). When I start the formal down (platz) I want to start a form of understanding between the dog and I. This understanding is ________ Do what I ask and I will give you what you want, i.e. food, toy, bite, anything can be the reward. So my work needs to be fast and clear and more precise than before. When I do the food, I can afford to make a few mistakes, this will not tear down training, but the compulsion will tear him down fast if not done correctly. I do the position exercises on a table. The reason: ==>1. Easier to work on then the ground and, ==>2. The dog will have to make a decision to leave the table to break position. Remember to let the dog get neutral to the table first. If he is nervous of the table the situation will not be favorable. I will get the dog in a down position with a piece of food, as I have done most of the times before. Then I start with platz. I will place one of my hands on the dog's muzzle and the other just behind the ears. There is a soft spot behind the ears, this is where I place my fingers to get the head down on the table as fast I can. The hand on the muzzle is there to guide the dog's head down in a straight position with the body. (My goal at this time is to get the dog's head down as fast as possible). Yes, sometimes the head will get pushed down a little to far or fast and there is a banging effect. When the head goes down, there will be a little resistance from the dog. After all, you just shoved him down very quick and with a lot of force. And do not forget about opposite reflexes. You do not remove the hands from the muzzle or back of the neck until you feel the dog "relax," this is when the fighting leaves the dog. You need to make sure the dog has given his consent to what you are doing. If you let go to soon, there will be a fight between you and the dog. As soon as the dog has relaxed, I will tell him okay and give him some food or praise. I do not let the dog break down position. I only let him lift his head. I want the dog to understand that I want his head down when I say platz. By doing this, it gives me more control over my dog and the position that I ask of him. When I am ready, I again put my hands back on the dogs head and muzzle and force him down quickly. I only let up when the dog relaxes and is not fighting. Again, release with the head up position as before repeat until I have a dog who can put his head down quicker then I can. Also, I do not want this dog's head to be moving around and looking to see what I am doing. When my dog can pretty much beat me in the platz position and I can brush him without the dog moving than I am ready for me to walk away from beside the dog. This is were I will start to look for some minor distractions and full control of the dog. (My goal is for the dog to stay in the down while I am "messing" with him). There is no reason for my dog to move or break the down unless I say so. I will do a few things to reinforce the down the way I want, but this is what I do. In other words, we all test differently. Just do not test to much, it will lead you to more problems. Yes, I am saying to much testing is a bad thing. An example is the dog who must always do a tin minute down. These dogs tend to break at one time or another and get corrected. Now the down becomes more of a hot spot than a safe spot. When I have the above picture I will move the platz from the table to the ground beside the table. Remember this: ==>1. The dog is and will remain on leash at all times. ==>2. The goal is to train as long as you can without the dog making more than minimal mistakes. ==>3. Time in the platz position is not the goal as much as the dog understanding to do what you say. On the ground I will do a lot of the same things as before. I will step back in training and reinforce the head to go down quickly. I will again brush him and make sure he is staying in a platz. I will also pull him with a leash about three feet to make sure he stays in a plats. While doing these things I will remind him to stay in a platz position. (My goal here is just to remind the dog of what he already should know). From here I will put my dog in a few places were I can tell him platz and be able to correct him with the leash. That does mean to say platz and give immediate compulsion to the dog, this will also make for a quicker platz. Just like when I do my first send sway, I will have a 300 or 400 foot line on my dog and correct him when I say platz. After all of this, your dog should and want to do the platz. After all, a lot of praise and some reinforcement has been done in this position. It is not just a platz but a way of life for the dogs. http://www.schutzhund-training.net/schutzhund/ FORCE TRACKING (actual tracking) When one is ready to start the force tracking there are a few things one must have in his training. The dog should be an average tracking dog. The dog should have a good and reliable platz, he should also know how to do an article indication and have some maturity about the dog. The handler should be willing to do things that might not seem right. In other words, go to the extremes to win. The handler should not have a problem with compulsion. Also understand that once the compulsion starts that there is no turning back. The handler should understand that he should use some other stimuli other than the prong after the compulsion has been done, (ex. electric collar). Conditions should be in favor of the dog. He must be in good health. The training should be on plowed dirt. There should be an understanding that at the beginning, there should be at least 7 training days in a row. The articles should be the size of a wallet. The dogs platz should be solid. If the platz is not solid then the problem is you end up working the down instead of the article indication. If you go straight to the field, and do a article indication, it will confuse the dog. This is to make it easier for the dog to understand what is asked of him when he is on the ground.