Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lessons in thinking ahead

For fun I do tracking with Jenny when the weather co-operates. (translation, when it is warm enough for me) I'm not that great at it, and we are very sporadic but there is something about it I just love. I really enjoy watching a dog do something that is so natural to them while challenging my own skills. And being outside enjoying nature sure doesn't hurt either.
Recently I have been training her (inside) to lay down for the article indication. This means when she comes to an item in the trail that has been dropped by the person she is "tracking" she will let me know it is there. This needs to be a very visible cue to the handler. I decided having her lay down with the object in between her front legs would work nicely. She picked it up very quickly and I was pleased.
Fast forward to me driving in my car past one of my practice fields the other day. As I look over I get the urge to go out and practice a track. Oh wait, it is still kinda cold. Jenny isn't going to want to lay down..... and it hits me, oh my freaking word, JENNY ISN'T GOING TO WANT TO LAY DOWN ON COLD GROUND!!! What the heck was I thinking?
Now even though I don't typically go out much if it is really cold I do practice in rain and wind and days that aren't always the best weather wise. This is just in case I ever do attempt a tracking test someday. You don't get to pick a warm sunny day for a tracking test. And even if she will lay down on the ground when it is cold, why would I ask her to do that? It doesn't seem fair since I get to stay upright, dry and clean. Now if she were as fluffy as Jack it wouldn't be an issue. But she is very naked in her nether regions. More so than many other dogs. Because of this she gets cold easily. Her favorite place is under a blanket for a reason!
~sigh~ So I get to start over. I can't decide if I want her to just sit down in front of it or put her paw on the item. I could also have her pick it up in her mouth but that one has drawbacks. I don't mind teaching her to pick up a glove but the other items on a track can vary greatly. Not to mention I want to control what goes into her mouth for safety reasons. So I need to make a decision before I can go forward. The bigger challenge ahead of me is getting her to do this on a track. She tends to work very quickly.
Chalk this lesson up to not thinking ahead. Oh well, lessons learned the hard way tend to stick! Now come on spring!!!

(My tracking harness of choice is the nylon Sure Fit by )


Ashley said...

I'm with Jenny; laying on the cold ground seems incredibly unfun ;)

Tracking seems like a really neat and fun thing to work on with your pooch. Pru has such a sniffer. Do you have any good beginner tips?

Marie said...


We can get together and try Pru at this sometime. I also have a great beginner book on the subject, Novice Nosework by Ed Presnall and Lois Ballard, you can borrow. I'll try to remember to bring it to work tomorrow in case you make it in. I heard you are under the weather. :-(