In trying to decide what I'd like to do that was different (for me) with one of the dogs, I had originally tried to get into a Canine CSI (Sniffer Dog) course, but the two times it was offered, I had something else on. Still very interested in doing something utilizing a dog's scenting abilities, I decided to try Tracking. I always loved Scent Discrimination in Utility obedience, because you had to learn to trust your dog, let go of "control" and really read your dog, which a lot of people find difficult. I am fascinated by the power of the canine nose, so Tracking was a natural choice of venue and game little Sugar the natural choice of dog!
We had signed up a few weeks ago, and I spent the time in the interim teaching her some basics like sit and down. What a willing little dog she is, I wish I had started things with her sooner! Oh well, we're started now and what fun we had!
We had homework before the lessons started so we arrived at the field all prepared, except for the cold and the wind! It just had to be the coldest day in a long time, my ears are still sore, but at least it didn't rain, it had been forecast to rain hard all morning, so we were very lucky there. This out-in-all weather for hours stuff is new to me so I need to do some shopping...!...my run from the car to the house clothes won't cut it.
Anyway, I was jaw dropping surprised how well Sugar did!! She put her head right down and you could actually hear her sniffing, I was amazed and so pleased with her! I still have a big smile on my face. I really think this is something we are both going to enjoy!
The pictures below are of her second track ever, in the quite scrubby field just next door here at home. The bottom picture shows the more pristine field we had our first lesson (and first track) in.
Putting on her harness prior to starting the short, straight track. The article is beyond the second flag. The flags aren't as close together as they look in the picture. Our instructor wants the harness going on just before working and off right after. So the harness means "working".
She was off right away as soon as we stepped up to the line!
For the first few tracks, we are told to just gently hold onto the harness but the dog must be moving forward. Can you see my smile? She was just so good!
Getting closer. I love this little vest style harness.
She's found the article (a leather glove) and is indicating with a down. What a good girl!
This is a more advanced dog tracking in the field we were in this morning. A Bedlington Terrier with a delightful attitude who was obviously having a great time.
We will miss next week's lesson because of the CSSA National Specialty in Saskatoon where I will be headed to judge the Puppy and Veteran's Sweepstakes. We can easily make up classes in this course though, so that's a big help!
I'm anxious to get out there again tomorrow!