Hey there, it’s Bailie for a change, and I’m going to be barking about beginner tracking today! Emma said it would be good for me to bark about my tracking now and then on her FitDog Friday posts, so here I go. The photo above was taken of me in my beginner tracking classroom. Yep, that’s right, we have class outdoors, rain or shine, and then go out tracking in these great big fields. It is so much fun! I take my classes from Active Dog Sports Training. They have tons of fun classes for a variety of dog sports.
I know you are all Emma’s friends and probably wonder why Emma is not tracking with me. Mom wanted us both to take tracking but she was told to only train one dog at a time. Once I started my class, it was clear to Mom and me that one dog is plenty. Tracking requires a lot of time and space and that would all be double with two dogs. I am more the tracking type, so Mom decided to start out with me and Emma was alright with the decision. Every week I have around six to eight hours of homework to do, and I need large open fields where Mom can lay tracks for me that are several hundred yards long and wide. Only one dog can run the track, which is why if Emma was also in class Mom would need double the homework time and twice as much field space.
The first week of class was pretty easy and could be done almost anywhere. We work off of tracking maps. Every track Mom lays and I run is first drawn on a map. Everything is planned out in yards which are measured by the distance of Mom’s footsteps. It is important when laying a track to walk in a straight line and to exit the track area correctly. We started with just 30 yard tracks on mowed grass with lots of treats along the way. Week two, the straight tracks got longer and we added in the complication of tall grass.
Week three we started adding a turn to our track and in week four, we started doing multiple turns in multiple directions, not to mention, tracks are now over two hundred yards in total length! At this point I have eliminated treats except when I get to the end and find the article. Mom found that I track fine without treats and treats actually disrupt my tracking process acting a bit like speed bumps along the way.
I really love tracking, and have been doing it on my own since the day Mom got me. I track my sisters’ exact path if they go for a walk without me. Mom has always been amazed about that. I really enjoy romping through the thick tall grass the most, though. Yesterday was almost too much. Mom laid my long track in a place with such thick and tall grass, I had to hop like a kangaroo almost the entire way to get through. She was laughing at me because all she saw was a set of ears pop up now and then, but she felt bad it was so difficult. No matter, I made it to the end and found the article.
The most amazing part of all in tracking is Mom actually goes out into these fields and lays tracks and then goes again with me while I track. Mom loves nature and hiking, but you never know what might be in these fields, yet she goes. She does it because she knows how much fun it is for me. Most of the time I prefer the taller thicker grass even though it is sometimes hard to get through.
I have learned a lot already and we are only half way through class. When I finish class in November I will keep practicing and then I should be ready to test for my TD (Tracking Dog) title. Once I have that I will move on to other titles. I have plans to do well at this sport, but we shall see. I will continue with my nose work as well, but I think tracking will be my sport number one. It is also a sport that tires me out mentally and physically which feels good to a pup.
This short video shows me in action. Sorry, but with tracking, most photos and videos are of my cute little behind. I wanted to use the Sony Action Cam to get the track from my level, but it didn’t record, so I will have to do that next time. Mom had to try and hold her camera to take the video and walk and pay attention to the terrain, so it is all a bit shaky and will never win any awards but it is still fun to see how I navigate that thick stuff and how I get my speed up in thinner grass.
October 1st through 7th isNational Walk Your Dog Week so Cascadian Nomads & My GBGV Life are celebrating with a dog walking challenge, giveaway, photo contest and blog hop. We invite dog bloggers to join our week long blog hop with posts about dog walking. Posts with tips, tools, inspiration and/or tales and photos of your favorite dog walks are welcome each and every day, all week long. Followers and readers are encouraged to get out and walk, rain or shine, and will be invited to share their photos for a photo contest. More details are coming soon but get ready for a whole week of dog walking fun!
If you all find my tracking adventures interesting I think Emma will let me have a post about it every month or two, so let me know if you want to hear more about it down the road.
Tracking is definitely a fun way to fit so Emma wants this post in her FitDog Friday Blog Hop along with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!