How to Train a Dog to Seek and Find?

Dog Tracking Training

Ability of dog to seek and find may be a useful skill not only for Schutzhund but also for daily routine.
It may happen that you or your friends loose something out of home.
It is obvious that dogs have unique smell and are able to find anything. And if you learn how to train your dog to seek and find and practice it, you will never have a trouble with the search for lost items.

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First of all let's explain. "Tracking" is following the scent of a person or animal, that is left along a certain track. Following a scent is one of the many useful skills of dogs that bring a lot of use and help people. Hounds track game, rescue dogs track lost children, police dogs track suspects, well trained dogs can find lost items.
The most favorable dog breeds for tracking are hounds, labradors, German and West European Shepherds. But if there is a wish you will manage to train any dog to seek and find.
Long Dog Lead for Dog Training 10mm | Best Large Dog ProductsIf you've decided to train your dog to seek and find use the following dog training commands: "Track", "Retrieve/Fetch", "Sit", "Give", "No" and a gesture pointing the track. Besides, for tracking training you will need dog treats, tracking articles and help of your friends or family.
One of the most important conditions for dog tracking training is the active smell-seek reaction and retrieve skills of the trainee dog. It is desirable to train a dog to seek a person by smell track before dog tracking training.
1 steps how to train a dog to seek and find? First of all train a dog to move in the indicated direction. Find a field limited by a fence. Make a dog sit by a command beside you. Adjust a long lead to a dog collar and command "Go" followed with a pointing gesture send a dog in a definite direction and follow the dog. Lead dog direction by slight pulling on a lead left/right making a dog reach the field fence. If you repeat such training several times daily your dog will get used to zigzagging quickly and you will learn to navigate the terrain and lead dog direction with a leash.
Schutzhund Tracking Articles-Thick Leather, Felt, WoodWhen a dog have learned this exercise move forward for seeking of small tracking articles, thrown in grass or bushes. The tracking articles should be various in shape and material, not bright (to match the surroundings) and have your smell. The method of training is the same as retrieving/fetching training. But throw the articles to be invisible for a dog and send the dog with a command "Track". It will make a dog seek the articles by smell.
When a dog learns this exercise move forward to train seeking and bringing of 4-5 articles thrown in various directions. For this choose a flat field with dense grass and move in the middle of it. Your helper should follow you behind throwing articles. At the first dog training classes a dog should see the action of throwing and be sent with a command "Retrieve" after each throw. The next classes at first the helper throws articles and you remember the places they fell. After that send a dog to seek and bring them to you with a command "Track".
Other way to train this exercise: Stay still and throw the articles in different direction for a dog to see it. Then standing still send a dog to track the articles and bring them to you with a command "Retrieve".
Dog Leash Training | Nylon dog lead for training and trackingNext the helper should throw 4-5 articles at the distance of 5-10 m from each other. After 10-15 min send a dog to seek by a command "Track". Praise a dog with a treat and word "Good" each time he finds the article. Repeat the exercise no more than 2-3 times a class.
The next exercise train a dog skill to track 4-5 articles at a field of 40x70 m size approximately. The helper throws the articles before the class according to the scheme mentioned before. After 10-15 min go with a dog to the field, stop and tell a dog to "Sit" beside you. Adjust a long dog lead to a dog collar and with a command "Track" and a pointing gesture send a dog to track the field in the he direction of the closest article.
Follow the dog and control its direction by the lead if needed. If the dog found the article, come up to him, praise with a word "Good", pamper, give a treat, take the article and put it into your bag. Then command "Track" and point with a gesture again to send a dog to seek the next article and follow the dog. When a dog finds it, repeat the actions described before.
If a dog does not take the article when he founds it make it sit beside the article with a command and give a treat. Praise a dog with a treat and word "Good". Take the article and hide it in the bag. Then send a dog to track the next article. The aim of this exercise is to train a dog to indicate the found article by sitting beside it.
Healthy Dog Treats for Interactive, Stimulated Dog Feeding GamesAfter the final finding of the article with a command "Sit" make a dog sit beside you, unleash him and command "Go" let a dog walking off leash. Repeat the exercise after 10-15 min rest.
When a dog learns to track articles actively enlarge the territory of a tracking field to 90-100 m long with the same width. Throw articles at different distance from each other to send a dog sometimes into a wrong direction. Change the type of tracking fields, enlarge the number or tracking articles and time between throwing and start of tracking. In the result of dog tracking training a dog is to track actively a field of 50x100 m territory, find articles himself, pick them up and bring to you or indicate the finding by a sitting beside.
In the process of dog training you are to learn the peculiarities of dog behavior in tracking, learn the technique to lead a dog by a leash and navigate the terrain.
Change the surrounding circumstances of training gradually.
Repeat the exercises no more than 3-4 times a week in various time.
Do not forget to praise a dog for each found article.
Train dog training in familiar and strange circumstances.
Change the quantity of articles and the schemes of their placing for each exercise.

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