Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Missy update and some tracking info

Missy's surgery is scheduled for the 13th. Unfortunately we didn't have any openings sooner. If anyone cancels their surgery we will certainly slide her in sooner. I hate waiting. In the meantime I have put her on full raw. It is believed that carbs and sugar can feed cancers. I'm not taking any chances. She is currently getting moose in the morning and Primal's nuggets in the evening. (pheasant formula this week) I love the nuggets because you can leave them frozen and thaw them quickly as needed. I just take them out in the morning and thaw them right in the fridge for the day. They are perfect for small dogs. No mess easy prep. I barely cook enough to keep myself alive so less prep is always music to my ears. I have used their patties before for Jack and the girls but had to cut them up for the girls since they were to big for a meal. Shout out to Lauren and Bill at The Loyal Biscuit Co. for being my fabulous supplier.

I had planned on going out tracking this morning but am battling a kink in my lower neck that is making to much movement painful. If I can get it worked out I will go. I went the other day and introduced turns which she did well with. I need to work in some longer grass and wooded areas next. I have a borrowed friends copy of Component training for variable surface tracking by Ed Presnall I also need to read. (virable surface is tracking on pavement as well as dirt and grass)

If anyone is interested in trying tracking here is some info to get you started. The books I would recommend for all beginners would be: "Novice Nosework" by Ed Presnall and Lois Ballard. As a companion book I also liked "Track Laying 101" by Ed Presnall put out by The tracking club of Wisconsin. It gets into all the stuff you need to know to lay great tracks for your dog. (you self lay in the beginning) And a book that can help dispel some myths and preconceptions of tracking that I really enjoyed was Following ghosts, Developing the tracking relationship by John Rice and Suzanne Clothier.

Most of those can be found on my favorite tracking site: http://www.pawmark.com/ I use their Sure-Fit adjustable tracking harness and their lines. (Though you can use any harness that is comfortable for the dog to wear and pull in and a long leash or training line.) Not only are they adjustable, they are easy to get on and off your dog. I also admit to loving that you can get almost any color you like in both harness and lines.

You can track with ANY dog. If they can breathe and smell, they can track. Some breeds may need to have some adjustments in training but all are capable. There are also many free e-mail lists out there as well. I am a member of Tiny Trackers on Yahoogroups. It is specifically for small dogs that track. This gives me a forum to ask questions of others that have more experience, and commiserate with those that have hit the same training hurdles when support is needed.

Look around, you may have a tracking group in your area already. If not, there may be a trainer that can steer you in the right direction or know of tracking seminars coming up. It never hurts to call and ask.

If you have a reactive dog, tracking can be the perfect sport to do because it is solitary. You and your dog get to work together and alone. It will help you learn to read your dog as well as give them something interesting to do that can help tire them out. We all have heard the saying, a tired dog is a happy dog.

Initially in tracking you have to teach the dog to follow the track you set. Eventually after they have learned the game, you need to then trust your dog on the track. The tricky part is learning to read their body language during the training portion so when you start doing blind tracks, those layed by others that you don't know where it goes either, you can trust them based on knowing when they are actually working the track or not. As you can tell by the video I am still in the teaching the game part to Jenny.

I encourage anyone interested in tracking to give it a try. Even if you never want to trial it is alot of fun to do with your dog. It is also a great way to spend time outside being surrounded by nature in all it's glory. If I don't get out in the field today I will at least play the "get the glove" game with Jenny. This promotes her drive to find the end article since finding that equals much fun. Plus it is a good marker of the "find it" game being over. I was doing the sit at the end but have decided to have her pick it up instead. If I can figure out how to get DVD clips of tracking trials I have video'd on here I will add those soon as well. I am some great footage of dogs earning their TD's. (Tracking Dog title)

1 comment:

jan said...

I've been thinking that tracking might be a good way to get one on one with each dog away from the others for a while.