Why is tracking in the winter a challenge? I still need to get my tracking certification so I can enter a TD ( Tracking Dog ) test to get my TD Title, which means I need to track in the winter. Winter tracking is challenging for several reasons.
Most people assume tracking in the winter is like cheating. Humans assume every track is like the one in the above photo and a dog would be stupid to not just follow the foot prints. It is true that the track layer leaves a nice track in the snow, but for a dog it isn’t much different than a track layer walking through the grass, trampling it down in the summer. Humans are very sight based, we dogs are thinking with our noses.
This track I ran on a play field was not extremely difficult, but it had challenges. I did a great corner on this track and did not get distracted by the track parallel to mine after the corner at all.
You can see in both the above photos there are other sets of tracks crossing the track I am on. In the cold, odor doesn’t really spread, it tends to sink and stay put, which means I need to keep putting my nose in the snow to check for scent. With all these other tracks, it is like a puzzle I have to solve to find the correct track.
I did some practice in a field as well. I was cruising along on my track but ahead there is a cross track. I have gotten my speed up with tracking. Mom says it might be the snow making me move faster, but I think it is being more comfortable with my job.
This track turned into a puzzle again real quick. Humans may think it is easy, just go straight, but I know my track can take a turn, so I have to check out all the other tracks.
Once again, for humans this is an eye thing. In the summer these same cross tracks are out here, but humans don’t see them. We dogs have to sniff them in the summer as well, but in the summer the odor spreads with the heat so we don’t have to spend as much time figuring out the puzzle.
I’ve sorted it all out and sniffed my way back to my track. Even though I went off to the left to sniff I found my way back to the correct track.
Finally, I got to the end article, and am waiting for my reward. It is hard work going through the snow when a girl is short, but it is fun. I hope I can get certified and try my nose in a test in March. We will see!
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My Golden Life says
I have faith in you, Emma – you can do whatever you put your mind to doing! I’m looking forward to seeing you proudly showing off your TD title!
I sure hope I can get it done. First step is the certification so we shall see.
Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs says
you are determined and we know you will get that title 🙂
I am hopeful, but first I have to get my certification which is the problem now. We have to find a judge to certify me.
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Thanks for the lesson EMma – glad you’re still able to do your tracking in the winter.
I’ll track any time, any place.
Ha! Your always found back to your track… I suggest all GBGV’s should get a golden nose award :o)
It was a lot of sniffing, but it is possible.
Sparkle the PBGV says
You are pawsome, Emma! I tracked a frozen breakfast sandwich this morning…it was on the kitchen counter…and I ate it cold and all. It was yummy, but I got in trouble. XOXO Sparkle the PBGV
Oh dear, a bit of counter surfing I guess. Hope the crime was worth the time.
Ellen Shedlarz says
Your the best. Katie can’t even find a place to pee in the city when it snows. She can’t find any smells.
LOL! At first I thought you were talking about my sister Katie! Our Katie goes to the bathroom in the street because she can’t walk in the snow and it is often to slick for her. The first snow is always tough for us all to figure out where to go to the bathroom, but we figure it out and then when the snow disappears, we are stumped again for about a day!
This was so interesting, Emma! That second image looks like you’re tracking somewhere in Siberia, lol. I certainly would give you the certificate for all that hard work.
Also, now I understand why Haley has to stick her nose down through the snow many times in order to find her favorite pooping spot, haha!
Mom took Bailie out last year when it was below zero, and she had to stick her hole head down into the snow every so often to find the scent! They just did a short 150 yd track to see how it would work in extreme cold.
Will (MarkingOurTerritory.com) says
Emma’s face at the end just kills me. So proud and rightly so. Well done!
Mom says I am the most proud dog she knows. You should see how I prance around at nose work trials. It makes Mom happy because she knows I’m pleased with my work and with working.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
whoo hoo great job emma
Thanks. I didn’t like tracking much when I started, but I’m come to like it a lot, even in the snow!
Great post, Emma! I think tracking is challenging — whenever the season. But you seem up to the challenge!! your doodle friend Dash
I didn’t like it much when I started, but Mom is determined I get my TD Title, so we kept on practicing. Now I really love it. I think I understand it much better and can see the fun.
M. K. Clinton says
The nose knows, but I hope its not froze! (See how I rhymed that for you, Sweetie?) I am practicing for a beautiful Valentine poem for you. XXXOOO Bentley
P.S. I know that you will score your TD this spring. ♥
I hope my nose isn’t froze! That would be dreadful! It is a cute poem, though. I hope I can get certified, so I can enter a test. That is our current issue.
Two French Bulldogs says
Sure looks like fun. You can track tree rats
Lily & Edward
I think every dog can and does track tree rats…grrr…
Earl Lover says
I guess everything is a challenge in 4 foot of snow!
It does make it more difficult, but at least Mom doesn’t get lost as easily, LOL!
That’s very impressive! My nose would be running more than I would!
LOL! Mom has that problem too sometimes.
Karen Meldurm says
Well, Emma, you are pawsitively amazing! I hope you can get your title soon as well. That snow would have me slipping and falling all over the tracks trying to keep up. And my nose would also be running faster than my legs. You are SOOOO lucky to have a mom who likes cold and snow!
She likes snow tracking more than I do, I think, but I do enjoy it as well. It’s a lot of fun and she doesn’t lose her way as easily in the snow since she uses her eyes.
Jan K says
I can definitely see where it would be more challenging in the winter where you have to constantly stick your nose down in the snow to get the scent. It sure looks like you are doing great and coming along well. Good luck getting that certification…we think you can do it!
Looks like I will give it a shot next Friday, so we shall see. Mom is starting to get nervous. She should know by now to just trust me!
Tenacious Little Terrier says
I always hear about how hard track tests are to get into! Tracking in snow does not seem like an easy feat, good job, Emma!
Tracking is real hard to get into because there are very few tests. They need so much space to lay tracks, there are only a few spots in each test too. I hope I can pass my certification and try to get into a March test. Early in the year in the midwest is a bit easier to get into because many don’t track in the winter so they wait to test.
Looks like you did great work! Barley probably wouldn’t be phased by the human footprints, either. Sometimes I dig trenches for her to go out in the backyard and she’ll just use them to get out farther in the yard to take care of business, so she prefers to not follow man-made paths 😉 Good luck with your training–March will be here before we know it, so I know you’ll be great!
March is sneaking up on us quickly!
Scott Jenkins says
That was pretty cool and educational. Had no idea that tracking could be a job. I’m sure you’ll smash it in March!
Tracking can be for fun, just sniffin’ our squirrels and wabbits, or it can be a sport as we also do. It sounds easy, but it is real challenging.
K9s Over Coffee (@K9sOverCoffee) says
Well done, Emma – I have no doubt that tracking is a real job in all types of weather…I see a TD title in your future 😉
I’m hoping for a TD soon. I enjoy the sport, but would prefer Mom goes back to working with Bailie on tracking stuff.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
You go Emma – I would think tracking in the winter time with all that snow could be close to impossible. But I’ve got faith in you girlfriend. I know if anyone can do it – Emma can!
I’m pretty good at it right now, but we will see if I can pass a certification test.
2 Brown Dawgs says
Interesting. When our dogs run blind retrieves, whether it be in the snow with tracks or on land with drag back scent, they tend to follow what they can see and/or smell. We use these things for training opportunities and to maybe try to trick them.
Some dogs use their eyes more than others, but we pretty much rely only on our noses. We will go off the path even, or stare right at something but not recognize it until we smell it. Scent hound think I guess.