Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tracking update

Thanks to some very generous friends who own a Doberman I used to show I have been able to use their field for my tracking training. The field is quite large, grass is about medium length and the best part is it is only about three minutes away from my house making it easy to fit in a training session while my little guy goes to preschool.

I am really enjoying the tracking so far and have been diligently scheduling three training sessions a week. Pelly is progressing very quickly and is showing a real aptitude for the work. I'm lucky to live in an area where you can train pretty much all year round and I love being outside so this sport is a great fit for me.

It's amazing how the weather can change from one day to the next. Look how beautiful it was on Tuesday…absolutely gorgeous day.

 This picture was taken this morning as the first snow fall of the season was starting. So far it hasn't gotten much deeper (although it's starting to pick up now!) and the light skiff is great for training as you can see exactly where you laid your track.

My tracks have steadily been increasing with each session as Pelly is progressing well and hasn't struggled at all. Last week rather than extend the track I opted to age it for a short time rather than immediately get started, only about 15-20 minutes but I didn't want to push it too much yet. In a CKC tracking test the track is aged at least 1/2 an hour and no more than 2 hours.

While looking for my son's winter jacket I finally found my tracking lead so didn't have to purchase a new one. Here's the equipment that I use for every session: green tracking lead, black nylon harness, bait of some kind (these are cut up hot dogs), tracking flags so I know where the track is laid and a bag to carry everything in. I picked up this particular bag when I was in Calgary for the Doberman National Specialty show a couple of years ago. The only thing missing from this photo are the leather articles I use.

For today's lesson I increased the length of the track a little bit and on the second track that I laid I introduced my first corner. I didn't do a complete 90 degree turn, more of a gentle arc that was well laid with food. Pelly had absolutely no trouble with this at all and easy followed the track to the leather article that was waiting for her. I didn't age the track at all.

As you can see from this photo, that little bit of snow really helps to see where you've laid your track, a great training tool!

Right now I am using bait at about every third or fourth step and once I've laid the track I walk back along it to the start, so it's "double laid". I think by the next lesson or two I will probably stop the double laying as Pelly is really doing well and I don't think she would have a problem with a single laid track.

That's it for this update, more to come soon. I'm off to my first bird dog training day this weekend with Libby and I'm really looking forward to it. The Vancouver Island Pointing Dog Club  is having a social/AGM/training day, should be lots of fun!

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