On Track with Claire

Although challenging to find the time -- and daylight -- Claire and I have been diligent in our tracking. When I start a new dog, I like to track as often as possible, and preferably every day; she has tracked five days in the past week.

I like to start a dog in snow but I also like to start with puppies -- at 11 months, Claire is old for me to be starting a dog. A disadvantage quickly became clear -- Claire is TALL! A puppy is already close to the ground - not so Claire. And so my first challenge has been getting her nose down.

Goldfish -- my traditional starter food (the crackers, not real ones!) -- were not enough. Animal crackers spaced closer together -- nope. I chopped up hard boiled egg - better but still not enough to stop Claire from checking out the view every step or two. Hmmmm....

Today I was determined, and good thing because it was dang cold...

I used chicken and spaced relatively close together. Here she is at the start checking things out...

And then she was off -- note head down!

No, I never wear gloves when tracking -- ever. Even in 14 degrees. 

Look at her go -- head down!

She did great and found the end...

Yay Claire!

The end of my tracks are ALWAYS covered food bowls. Once Claire knows the game really well, I will train with articles on the track -- including gloves -- but the end never changes. In a test, the glove will just be a normal thing to pick up on a track.

Post-track romp...

As I track with this next generation, I have been struck by how automatic it all is for me now. Claire's great-great grandma Abra was my first TD and hopefully Claire will soon be my tenth. Until Sparkle (#9), I had not had a dog flunk a TD test. Asia, Zoey, and Harper all earned easy TDX's and Asia was a Champion Tracker. But while I have a "system" when I train, I am also infinitely flexible. I use food, lay my own tracks, never bother with drawing things out, don't ever stress about time, wind, mistakes, etc. and just generally have a chillaxed attitude about tracking. 

Maybe that is why I love it so much.

Happy Tuesday -- and stay warm!

1 comment

by Maddie's Mommy on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 14:53

A wonderful post! And I can't think of a better morning than being outside in the woods, with fresh (albeit frigid) air, and a dog you love! (And Claire will be the tenth? Where does the time go...we remember them all...)

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