The winter 2017 tracking season has begun! Mom takes us out tracking all year, but we do the most tracking work in the spring and summer because of the weather conditions. Summer is for cool days only, and in the winter the temperature and snow conditions have to be safe to work in.
Right now my tracking career is pretty much done. I don’t care much for the sport, and my certification has run out, but Bailie and Madison are going full power, training for titles. Mom says if Madison is good enough to be certified this winter, she may take me along too, but I don’t think it will happen, and frankly, I really don’t care.
Bailie has her TD Title, and is hoping to try for her TDX Title this year. Tests are few, and it is hard to get a spot, but she will try. In a TDX, the track is 800-1000 yards long with four articles to be found, there are cross tracks and obstacles, and lots of turns. It is much more difficult than a TD test. We have a lot of confidence in Bailie and think she can do it if she applies herself, but she does need to get out and practice.
The track in the video was about 600 yards long, in the snow with cross tracks and some terrain changes. Also, the start can be a track in any direction at Bailie’s level. The dog needs to figure out which way the track goes from the start article. Bailie had no trouble following it. Her usual way of tracking is at the speed of light, with random deviations to sniff something along the way, then back to the track and the speed. Unfortunately, Mom could not film the entire track. With Bailie’s speed, and the snow, she could no longer hold the camera, but you do get an idea of how Bailie operates. Next time I might suggest Mom rides in a sled, as Bailie appears to be more of a sled dog than a tracking dog! She loves to track so much, and Mom loves to watch her track!
January 1, was Madison’s first time to go out in the snow and do winter tracking. She hadn’t been tracking in almost six weeks as we had too much snow for her, then we got ice and below zero weather. Winter tracking is a challenge as odor doesn’t travel in the cold. It just sinks and sits there which means a dog needs to really put her nose in the track to stay on. There were a lot of other footprints, and tracks from sleds in the snow, but Madison still managed to track. It’s important for her to have fun and not be stressed about tracking, so Mom laid a 57 yard straight track to start with.
For the first time, Madison wore a tracking harness. I decided to give her my tracking harness and line since I don’t use it. It is a bit large for her still, but she can track in it and before long, it will be a perfect fit.
Note in Madison’s video how similar her tracking style is to Bailie’s! When she is on track, she is lightning fast, but then she veers off to check out something and comes back. When she is off track, she has no speed. Mom was really impressed with her first winter outing. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and she can get out and track a lot this month and maybe try to get certified in the second half of February. It is a tall order, but possible. Since she enjoys it so much and is a real natural it would be fun to get her into a test in the spring sometime.
Do you do fun winter sports with your dog? We love being out in the crisp air having fun but this winter we keep getting ice which means we can’t track. About once a week, we also practice our nose work outside as that is a bit easier because we can find sheltered, non ice spots!
We are joining The Positive Training Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days to share positive pet training stories, encouragement, challenges and triumphs. For January, the theme is “My Training Mentor or Inspiration”. Luckily, any training post is welcome as long as it’s positive so our tracking post fits! For February the theme will be “Training Tools” and the hop will begin on February 6th.