Friday, October 3, 2008
Well, for a bit now I have been working two of my dogs for tracking. Tracking is when a dog follows a particular scent. Any dog can track. The challenge is to get the dog to follow one scent that they are told to follow. Tracking is not something that is taught to the dog, they already know how to do that. If you have ever had a dog that follows a cat's trail, a squirrel's trail or something else, you know that the dog has the ability to track. All do. When you train for tracking, you train the dog to follow the scent that the handler points out to the dog. I train my dogs to follow a particular human scent and to indicate something that the person has dropped along the way. At the moment mine are trained to indicate something leather or cloth.
This past week, both my Shorthair and Shepherd did a very good job. I am proud of the both of them. Hannah (Shepherd) didn't miss a beat and stayed on each turn exactly where it was. Darla (Shorthair) did a delightful job and was fun to watch checking out what she thought was "dropped" by the tracklayer. She'd go over to what she thought was an article/drop, realized it wasn't and kept going until she found what she should.
On Monday, I'm going to be a track layer for an AKC test. My job will be to walk with the judges and draw out the "track" that will be laid on Tuesday for the test. We will put out flags to indicate turns and drops on Monday. Tuesday morning I will re-walk the track, picking up the flags. For the exhibitors who are entered in the test, they don't know where the track goes. Only where the start is. I know they will be nervous, as will I. It is a pass or fail test. Not many do pass. This is one AKC event where everyone pulls for the person and dog doing the work. I so hope/pray that the dog that get's the track that I laid passes.
I am also hoping to get my Hannah (Shepherd) ready for her test in December. She is so soft tempered and doesn't have the confidence that she should. We are working hard at the moment. She is very sweet and deserving, but she must do her best job and prove that she can do what she has been taught to do...track and follow the human scent that I tell her to, and to indicate anything that the person has touched and left behind.
The pictures here are of Hannah and Darla. Such great companions!
Oh, Hannah has her C.D and R.N. Darla has her R.N. and is a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International. Darla is currently working on her C.D. and doing some of her C.D.X. work.