So this morning was absolutely beautiful. So much so that I decided to take advantage of my day off and take Jenny out for a tracking session. I admit I prefer nice weather when I train outside. I'm also not always raring to go in the mornings. To many years working late shifts in the military I suppose. My internal clock is set to "sleep in" and "stay up late". Not the best schedule for getting things done normally I know.
I've been meaning to work on her article indications. I can do that at home, but thought maybe doing it at one of our training fields might help her make the connection faster. Basically in AKC tracking you want them to follow the track exactly and let you know when you find something the "person" they are finding/following dropped. Jenny is a fast worker and tends to blow past them. But I think it was because I didn't concentrate on teaching her how to let me know she found one in the beginning of her training.
An article can be made of anything. Metal, plastic, cloth, and leather are just a few examples. I decided I want her to sit when she finds one. Or at least paw at it long enough for me to get to it before she moves on. So first I practiced with the articles individually. I used a clicker to get her to acknowledge it was there, then to put a foot on it, then to sit after she puts her foot on it. Once she grasped that I moved on to doing a few in a row. I rewarded her for the sit, then I would pick it up and moved to the next one. (photo above is staged and taken after we were finished training)
Here I have a cloth toy, a piece of see through plastic, a rubber tog toy, a pedometer, a metal bandaid box, a lego car and then a leather glove in a row. First I did the row on the pavement, then I did a row in the grass. Once I thought she had that I set up a couple tracks. The first was through a gully with 2 left turns. (shown below)
She did great until we overshot the first corner and I got lost. I forgot the simple rule of: "All dandelions look the same when you are on a track so don't use them as mental markers". Seriously. But we backtracked and I found it. Then she air scented and cut her corner so I need to work on that. For the next track I just did a straight line and used an extra amount of articles. She did pretty well even though I could tell she was tired.
I'm hoping to get to a group tracking practice on Sunday if my schedule allows. It is also hunting season and I am toying with the idea of getting her back into the bloodtracking as well. It is a lot of fun and I know she enjoys that because there are no articles to worry about and the end item is a yummy deer leg. I should probably chose one tracking sport and stick with that. It might make it all easier. I think sometimes I have ADD when it comes to dog events. I have a hard time choosing just one to concentrate on. I guess I need to work on that. Interested in Tracking? Check out the following site for books and equipment: www.pawmark.com
I love this plate!!