Monday, September 23, 2013
This weekend I had the opportunity to try something new with one of my dogs. Jack Jack and I participated in a tracking seminar (based on the Canadian Kennel Club's rules). Tracking is a sport in which the dog must follow a track laid by somebody. At the novice level, the track is 400m - 450m long with three to five turns. The track is aged between 30 minutes and two hours. It doesn't really sound tough, but there are so many variables involved, such as wind, moisture, the type of area being tracked on, etc.
Because Jack Jack is a sniffy dog (he "sees" the world through his nose) I always thought he'd be a good candidate for tracking. He didn't disappoint me. Because we've done nosework (see previous blog posts) he is used to air scenting, rather than following a track, but we worked through the initial challenge and he did some beautiful work for me. He loved every second of it, as you can see below.
We tracked on short grass, in very long grass (with lots of thistles), in an oat field that had just been cut and in a barley field that had just been cut. I learned that barley is very prickly and hard to get out of clothing (and it makes me itchy). Oats are softer. Grass is, of course, the nicest.
We had two days of glorious late summer weather, and I even managed to get a bit of a sunburn. I met some really great people and loved taking another seminar from the presenter (she's fabulous).
Here's Jack Jack watching me lay the last track of the day (roughly 125 feet). As you can see, the weather was beyond fantastic.
As a side note - tracking is a GREAT way to get in distance and steps. By the time you lay a few tracks and then go get your dog to run the tracks, you get in quite a few steps. So it's a healthy activity too!