And now for something COMPLETELY different – serpentines of another kind

This past weekend CB and I traveled out to Raven Alberta for an introduction to  tracking seminar with CKC tracking judge Donna Brinkworth. In a nutshell it was great and it turns out I might have myself the makings of a nice little tracking dog. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

CB with his nose down taking in a serpentine footstep track. Donna is coaching me on directing CB's attention to the bait along the footpath.

CB’s posture in the above photo (head down and sniffing) has been seen at the occasional Rally trial. It’s cost us a few “teamwork” points and I signed up for the seminar thinking I may as well not fight his natural ability to track if he has it – and I was also  thinking that maybe I’d be able to re-direct his “sniffing” into a tracking reward for him if he liked it and hopefully see less of it in Rally. Well see how that goes with practice.

This weekends seminar was over two days. Yesterday we learned about scent/tracking theory and we had an opportunity for some practical work with scent pads and footstep tracking. It was so neat seeing all the different dogs working – there were two miniature/Schnauzers, an Australian Shepherd and a Basset Hound in addition to CB. Michelle of Sufat Sheleg Canaan Dogs graciously hosted the seminar on her property and has some great photos of all of us working on her blog.

We first worked on scent pads and creating an association with the scent and the bait. CB really liked this part as he is very food motivated.

CB looking for chicken on the scent pad.

Next we set up a scent pad leading into a serpentine footstep track with bait in every footstep. This is Michelle demonstrating a serpentine track with her Canaan Dog Ash.

Michelle and Ash on a serpentine track

Outline of the scent pad and serpentine track I set up for CB. Since the ground was soft you can really see my foot prints in the grass.

Donna demonstrated tracking with two of her dogs (Caden and Jet) and we also got to practice line handling to better understand how our leash/body pressure on the dog may change their behavior on the track. Pretty neat stuff and it was so cool listening to CB taking in the scent as he was following his tracks.

Today we set up tracks for Donna’s current students. The tracks were blind to the handler and only Donna (who judged) and the track-layer knew where the tracks went. This was a mock trial for the handler’s and it gave them an opportunity to see where their training is at. It was also a great opportunity for us ‘newbies’ to see some teams getting ready for their first TD test – in action. I set up a track for a gorgeous Afghan – and it was really neat to watch him working. I then got to run the track with CB after it was loosely baited –  I was amazed at how quickly he got down to business of following the track. So cool.

Heading up to the scent pad - getting ready to go "find it"

We finished up the day with more scent pads and serpentines. CB and I both slept — er, I mean CB slept on the drive back to Calgary. Using his sniffer seems to have tired him out.

It might seem kind of strange to be training a Pomeranian in tracking but it’s really not so. According to the Pomeranian Club of America the first pom to receive an AKC TD was Georgian’s Betty in 1948. Don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point of attempting the TD test – but we’ll be far from the first if we do.

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8 responses to “And now for something COMPLETELY different – serpentines of another kind

  1. Hi Fotina! I love your blog! It was so great to meet you and CB who has so much working potential! I am so glad that you are hooked on tracking since you know how much I love it with my Canaan Dog crew:-) If you ever need a field to track just come on out to Raven!
    Cheers Michelle

  2. Thanks Michelle! It was great meeting you too and thanks for having us at your place. It was so nice to be able to be inside for some stretches and not freezing the whole day. Good luck in the upcoming test.

  3. Hey Fotina I tried to send you those pics I took of CB but this address bounced back:fkaravas@daylightenergy.com – is there another email addy I can send them to? PS, it is sunny and warm today – go figure:-)
    Cheers Michelle

  4. Glad you had fun, we LOVE tracking and i love hearing about different breeds doing this kind of work. I found that tracking actually helped REDUCE sniffing during rally, maybe befause it gives Bear an appropriate time and place to use his nose!

    • I really did have a good time. Too bad photo’s of tracking look so boring – because it really isn’t at all. That’s so great that you found tracking has reduced Bear’s sniffing. It almost seems like it’s too easy of a solution so it’s good to see that it’s worked for someone else.

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  6. Pingback: And so it begins…. | cbandkona

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