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      As there are no receipts for all accidents of life, so there is no the only way of training a tracking dog for  100% work. There exist plenty of methods, and each one is worth of respect and attention in case when it  leads to a positive result. In this article you can find information about our way of training the dogs for  contests in tracking section. This system we have chosen after many years of training our dogs, and dogs  which had lessons at our establishment, too. We never stop when achieve the goal and try to develop  constantly, possessing experience of other successful trainers. We explore new methods of training our  four- legged students, and in case when it leads to positive results, introduce these new methods into our  system. But still, the general scheme of work remains unchanged. First of all, we want to warn   trainers- beginners, who will read this article: if you want to get some result in your work using the scheme   described here, you shouldn’t try to get it by parts. The method works only when getting through all of the  stages, from the beginning to the end. But we don’t propose you to repeat absolutely everything without any  thought in your head; there could be possibility that our method wouldn’t fit some exact dog, or at some stage exactly your dog would need another treatment and “invention of a new bicycle”. Besides, it was impossible to describe all the nuances and variants of training within the confines of an article, there still exist a lot of different “buts”, which can be solved only when practicing, watching the dog and finding keys exactly for it.


     All that is needed at first lessons of a tracking training is to explain to the puppy, that food must be searched on the ground, and that it can be found only near the master’s track. For reaching this aim many trainers, including us, use the work with the tracking square, or the stain. At the first lessons we use boiled dried meat as dainty; and dry food is for puppies with a very good appetite. Don’t use cheese, snags, sausages as dainty – they have too strong smell, which will interrupt puppy’s concentration not only on the search for food, but for track too. Besides, such dainty will stand out in color, and a puppy will use eyes for his search, but not the nose in result. So, choose a location where grass is not high, or one with structurally unstable plow. Bind a puppy not far from this place, show him dainty and go for laying of a track, for him to see it. Put the flag on the left from you and densely trample a square about 1,5 * 1,5 meters. Then put dainty everywhere on the square. Go out of the square near the flag, at the same place where you entered it. Now take the puppy and lead it to the flag, try to calm him before the work; if the puppy is alarmed, just wait. If the puppy doesn’t sniff dainty on the ground itself at the moment, throw a few pieces of dainty for him to see. If the puppy has a good appetite, it will start picking dainty up, and searching for it more and more with interest. Don’t worry if the puppy will go out of the square at first, don’t restrict it, let it mistaken. It trains in such a way and discovers a rule for him: there is no food where is no track! Very soon it will stop go out of borders of the square. Working intensively, throw dainty in the square in a way the puppy won’t see it. Pronounce a search command “Sniff” or “Track” exactly at the moment when the dog sniffs well. At the moment when the puppy isn’t finally fed and still has an interest to the work, take it away with your hands or slip dainty in your hand to its nose and take it away from the square. The main feature of work in the square is: never point dainty with a hand and never restrict a puppy with a tie. When working in the square, the puppy should come to the conclusion: if you want to get food, you must find a track. How many such lessons are needed? We move to the next stage only when a dog learns to smell intensively in the square for 5 minutes minimum and stops going out the borders of the square. It can last from 3 to 10 lessons, depending on the dog’s abilities.


     The aim of a next stage is to continue training of a puppy, for him to work independently, to move forward; to lay the basis for smooth tracking work. The track laying. Leaving a flag on your left, densely trample down a circumference (but not a circle) with a diameter of 3-4 meters. Put the dainty everywhere on the tracks, just in the same way as we did in the square. Go out of the circumference also near the flag. Wait for 10-15 minutes and take the puppy to the flag. The tracking works always begins from a flag or a plate. Stop not far from the flag and wait until the puppy will absolutely calm down. It may pull towards the flag, but it shouldn’t fuss, jump or bark. Never begin a work if a puppy isn’t absolutely calm, even if you have to wait for this for a very long time. A calm start guarantees the success of a future tracking work, that’s why it is worth of special attention. If the puppy continues to rave about, despite the long wait, take it away from the flag, and just walk along the field, then return to the flag again. Repeat this till the needed condition will be reached. First time getting on the circumference, the puppy can start losing a track, don’t meddle with it to understand the situation and find the right solution. If you have obtained correct work in the square, the puppy will understand what’s going on very quickly, and it will start moving in a circle, picking the dainty up. Never mind his changing of direction, let him do it at first. Conduct 4-5 such lessons. At the end of the work the puppy’s withdrawal from the circumference is just the same as it was from the square. And now it’s time to use dog-lead and to train a puppy to move forward. Continue to work on the circumference, but now you move behind the puppy, keep it on the leash and block it off its reverse motion. You can walk on the circumference in such a way for several times. Don’t force the puppy to eat all the dainty on the first turn, but if it eats all of it conscientiously, that is very good. And you have to throw more dainty on the circumference while walking behind him, for next transit. Do not limit the speed of a puppy with a dog-lead at this stage. Let him go on the circumference as many times as it needs, in order for him to go in the tempo that satisfies you. You’ll see that it will go slower and calmer every next training. Gradually reduce the amount of dainty. Ultimately, you must come to the training, when you locate the dainty in the checkerboard pattern, with the distance of 20 centimeters between the dainties. If the puppy will learn to move, eating practically every piece of the dainty in this location, you can move on the next stage.


If the puppy is well-learned to work on the circumference, it wouldn’t be difficult for it to pass an undulating track. This stage is featured by complication in laying a track. Now it isn’t a dense trail, but a track consisting of separate footprints, though still densely disposed to each other. We are laying a track for about 30-40 steps, putting a dainty in every footstep. At this stage we also acquaint the puppy with an item, which is left at the end of the track; a few pieces of dainty should be put directly in front of the item. We are using an item which is bigger in size than usual one – 8*10 cm. Since the dog is acquainted with an item, the latter must be always put at the end of the track, where the dog gets its food. After delaying 15-20 minutes we begin the work in the same way we did it when working on the circumference. Let the dog make mistakes and find correct decision by itself. When reaching an object, the puppy will start eating a dainty left for it, at this point gently lay (or seat) it down, take the item in your hands and show it to the puppy, then put it again in front of him and generously cover the item with a tasty dainty. Show the puppy, that you are glad that this item is found, don’t be stingy with praise and emotions. It is important, that the dainty with which the puppy is encouraged at the item, should be more attractive, than those pieces which are put directly on the track. If the puppy goes too fast, misses too much food, fusses, then return to the second stage. In the case if the dog shows needed behavior, goes confidently, does not deviate from track – you can introduce complications. Gradually increase the length of the track, input more items, and, finally, gradually increase the distance between footprints. The track must never be straight, always lay the track as waves of different amplitudes. Special attention should be paid to the work with items. Our methods don’t involve designation of items separately. At first an item serves as a finish. Then appears one more item, then more and more, and they become a confirmation of the correct way. A dog always gets a lot of tasty dainty at the item, as well as opportunity to rest and calm down. Due to the fact that at the early stages we put some dainty in front of the item, the dog possesses a habit to sniff the ground in front of the item when it is found, and lie down in order to get a deserved dainty. As a result, the dog almost never passes the item and doesn’t lie down on it; it’s important not to rush to remove a dainty in front of the item till the dog will be able to designate items unhesitatingly, and you will see that it confidently searches for them. We never use compulsion when training designation of items. You can do separate training tracks “on items”. For this, put a lot of items (every 10-15 steps) along the track and if the dog trains well, gradually take dainty afore some items away. Don’t work with big items for a long time, proceed to standard ones and lesser, as soon as the dog begins to lie down when noticing items. Use items of different materials at once. Don’t put dainty beneath the item or inside it, the dog mustn’t move the item when searching for dainty under it or inside it.


     In order to increase the length of a track and to begin work on the angles, it’s necessary to reduce feed amounts on the track. At this stage we usually completely switch to laying of a track with dry food (dry food must be of large size), but the dog is always encouraged with more delicious food (meat, cheese, sausage) when reaching an item. Begin from putting a food in every third footprint. If the dog will sniff over empty footprints similarly intensively, you can continue reduction of feed amounts each training, gradually coming to its chaotic arrangement. The variant of putting dainty in blocks fits well to some dogs: for example, the first 20-30 footprints are empty, then go for 10-15 steps putting dainty in every third footprint. After passing an empty section the dog sometimes has to find an item which will serve as confirmation of its correct work. In such a way you must gradually come to minimal feed amounts on the track, and to search of items on which the dog will get its praise and food. The track always ends with an item. At the end of a track we never put a toy or a bowl of food, since the sense of dog’s tracking work is a thorough study of a track, but not an aspiration to the final point. Besides, during the training when working with items, the trainer can stop a dog’s work on any item, if needed. Here comes the last complication: at this stage you must gradually switch to laying a track with separate steps, not a dense trail.