Sunday, December 30, 2012


Yesterday was the first dry day we've have in some time, so I decided it would be a good day to track. Tracking is an integral part of Schutzhund and can be a good confidence builder for your dog. Seth absolutely loves to track. Tracking had not come as easily for Seppel, when i first got him he couldn't smell food that was between his legs. It's like his nose didn't work properly. Now that he's been tracking, he definitely uses his nose a lot more. Between the boys, tracking definitely comes more naturally to Seth.

I found the *perfect* field yesterday. Well, I've actually laid track there before. It's a field owned by a business similar to intel, but it though - it's the weekend, I'm not going to let my dogs pee or poop there, just run the track and get out of there. The grass was the perfect length and I know people had not been walking on it which is ideal when the dogs are just learning.

I am assuming the security guard saw me lay the track and probably would have let me continue - had I not brought out a camera. I mean, I was out there for a good 30mins, so unless he just saw me, which I feel may be unlikely I think the camera brought him out. Long story short -  got kicked off the property, JUST as I was about to have Sepp track. So lame.

I passed three schools - all had things going on, boys scouts picking up trees, people in the field, and some weird event going on at a high school. I wound up at an elementary school, the grass had been cut at some point and it was fairly marshy. Ugh. But I didn't want to not track, the whole point of this day was to track. I figured I'd give it a go, if the dogs couldn't manage, they couldn't manage.

The dogs actually did alright. This was the first time I've ever done a 90degree turn with Seth and I think all in all, he managed to do it okay. We still need tons of practice and experience time. Both dogs went off track several times, I really credit this to the poor footing, neither boys are that experienced. Seth is better at tracking than Seppel is - he goes off a few times and even backtracked once [which you aren't supposed to allow, but I did because the field sucked] but gets back on track a lot more easily.

For those who don't track, it's pretty simple to lay one out. You set your flag in the ground on your left, stamp out a 2ft square the "scent pad" put some food on it, then walk heel to toe from the scent pad, in the beginning stages putting a piece of food in every heel print. At the end of your track, you make another 'scent pad' and drop some food in it. For Seth, on good grass I can skip several footsteps between food, for Seppel he's still about every 2-3 steps getting food. You don't want a dog airscenting, you want their nose to the ground the whole time, generally speaking you also don't want them back tracking. In a trial both dogs would have been docked points for going off track and for back tracking. In the beginning we laid straight tracks, we're now adding some soft arcs, and in Seth's case I wanted to try a 90 degree turn. We really haven't been tracking at all like we should have been... so the boys are rusty and the conditions for yesterday were crap. However, I'm proud that they both managed to follow the tracks!

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