January 17th, 2010 is when I attended my first official tracking instruction . Over a year and a half ago. Finally, today, I can say I think I am finally "getting it." The same can be said for Dottie. Pie and Fancy are a tad further behind but are close on her heels. I've been working tracking pretty diligently, but when you don't know what you are doing, it doesn't matter how much you are working at it if you are doing it wrong! Luckily, when ever I go astray and tell my troubles to the SchH club all-knowledgeable trainer, she offers to go with me and then proceeds to give lots of good help and advise that works until I mess something up further down the line. Now the dogs and I are to the point where we are having more good days than bad days. Let's hope it continues! (By diligentally, I mean daily with a few breaks for Dottie's CD and the carting trial. Trust me, we have A LOT of tracking miles and miles and miles and miles and miles.)
For those that don't know, SchH style tracking is different than AKC tracking. First difference is you are graded on technique and style and loose points were AKC is pass/ fail and it doesn't matter how you do it as long as you get to the end. Kind of like the difference between hunters and jumpers in horses. Also in SchH the dogs usually indicate the article by lying down while most AKC dogs do a retrieve, at least in the TD.
I am extra lucky that my all-knowing SchH tracking trainer has also tracked Malinois and gave me many breed specific tips. GSDs are bred to have the calm, thoughtful tracking style SchH values. Mals are not selected for this and tend to have a frantic, rush to the end because I can smell the article from here style. As the video shows, Dottie is being very calm. I worked so hard for that.
I'm posting this video- it isn't perfect and I know we still have work to do. But we've worked so hard and I am so proud of the progress we have made.