Training Time and some other random thoughts on tracking

It’s been just over 6 weeks since Kona’s surgery to remove the plate. We’ve been doing his physio and he’s been getting daily walks; since he has been using his leg as normal I thought I’d take him to a Rally class and get him back to training.

I ended up taking both CB and Kona and the outcome was quite good for both of them – especially considering that CB and Kona would rather play if they had their choice. But what pom wouldn’t? This is also the first Rally training session I have taken CB to since the tracking seminar. We have been to agility – but we don’t have the “sniffing” issue with agility.

Kona – I am really pleased with how he did. He was eager, focused and stayed nicely in heel. We are just starting to work on Advanced exercises but have not progressed to offleash work yet. For the jumps we left the bar on the floor and I gave him the command to “JUMP” and he did a little jump over the bar. I wanted to make sure he understands to jump but we can’t give him any height to clear while his leg is healing. So far so good.

CB – I don’t think I’ve ever had as much interest from him as I did last night without lure. I don’t know if having Kona there made it more fun for him or if letting him do a small serpentine track in the afternoon has made sniffing in Rally less interesting. Whatever it was there is something different. He was faster and I didn’t need to work to get his interest.

I did take the pups for a walk in the afternoon – a walk we do quite often that takes us through some trails and a field in the west end of Edworthy. After last weekends seminar I’m looking at parks and fields a little differently scoping out places I can lay short tracks. I happened to have treats in my pocket and tied up the dogs and laid a short baited serpentine with a scent pad.

And since I don't think a post is complete without a photo - here is a picture of Kona's sister from another mister, just because I think it's cute. Doesn't have anything to do with this post other than it's in the field in Edworthy.

Aside for the fact that I had bait, I was pretty unprepared. I had dead grass colored bait, no flags and the conditions were really dry. I needed CB to find the scent pad because my bait disappeared into the grass but he pulled me right to it so that wasn’t a problem. He did the track pretty quickly and I’m thinking that I don’t need to bait every step now and I need to start working him with longer tracks. He was actually very excited to track, so much that I had concerns that he would be “tracking” at Rally.  It turned out not to be the case last night.

It seems strange that just a quick “track” could make that much difference so quickly.  Anyone else have experience with tracking and doing Obedience with their dog? I’m thinking that since we’re associating a command (Find It) with the scent pad that that could be making a difference. Or is just the action of having a real scent to follow more interest than sniffing random things on the floor?

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