Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tracking Update 1 and Good By Charlie

I see I am getting a little bit behind.

After my awful training on Thursday, I headed out to my parent’s house after work on Friday to get a jump start on my drive up to Sacramento to drop Charlie off on his first leg of his journey to his new life as a detection dog for a department of corrections in a state above California.

The drive up to Sacramento was uneventful, except for all the drooling I did over all the great tracking fields. This time of the year they were all dirt. Last time I drove up here in October, they were all nice green grass. I got this picture of a turbine blade going by. Isn’t it huge?

Charlie was his typical rowdy self upon greeting his new transporter. He almost knocked the glasses off her face, but luckily he jumped right into her car and started chewing on the chew she had left for him behind the dog barrier so he didn’t destroy her car.

The further reports was the transport went well and he got to his new foster home and so far they love him. I agree he is a very nice boy, I just did not have time to keep him busy- which is always a bad thing for a dog like that.

On Sunday the SchH club was having training, so after dropping Charlie off I turned around and drove back to my parent’s house. About 12 hrs round trip. Stayed the night with them, then got up at 5:30 to get some more dirt tracking in before training. I had spotted a dirt field by my parent’s house that looked promising. It is hard for me to get up early on a weekend, but I was able to do it because I REFUSE TO FAIL TRACKING WITH PIE. The other 2… we will always have another trial. This is Pie’s one chance. Oh- had I not mentioned that? I decided to try for her SchH 1 at our trail in Sept. Speaking with more people, it seems I might have overreacted a bit in regards to her spondylosis. Since she is symptom free, this one time will not be detrimental to her health. As time goes on she will probably get less and less flexible, so it is best to stop high impact activities before any symptoms might appear. Hence this being our one try. Everything or nothing! With Pie, I do not expect to fail obedience. Protection is out of my hands. Either she does it or she doesn’t. That phase has a lot of training involved, but it really comes down to if the dog has the chops, or doesn’t. We were behind where I thought we should be on tracking, so I got up and did something about it.

When I got to the field it looked just as good as I thought. Yet there was a no trespassing sign. Drat. Violators will be prosecuted. Did that mean jail time, or just a fine? I decided Pie’s SchH1 was worth it and drove to the other side (away from the sign) and got to work. It went really well for all three dogs. Not perfect, but that is good- means there is learning happening. I didn’t lose my track, make anyone go the wrong way, or even get hurt! I did a short track with each dog- food in footsteps to reinforce, then a longer track with less food. Everyone was great! Fancy is not getting any food- it seems to distract her from tracking. When the food stops she seems to think she is wrong, off track, or just looses interest in moving forward and keeps sniffing were the food was. So no more food for her. The mals do not need the food, I just use it to reinforce putting their nose in each footstep. Works great for Pie- Dottie just skips the right foot step and food and only follows the left. Not very correct, but we will pass.

After over an hour of tracking and getting very dirty, I drove to Sunday morning SchH training – about an hour from the field which helps explain why I had to get up so early. Training went well. Pie is ignoring the gunshots nicely. Dottie is regressing on retrieves. It was Pie’s first time biting in about a month. How would she do?? She did great!! She did the entire routine minus the long bite and transport. Her drive (where she bites then the helper pushes her backwards with her hanging on and he hits her hard with the stick twice) was amazing for her. She used to hate that part. It puts a lot of pressure on the dog and a weak dog might not keep biting. Pie looked like a pro, and didn’t even resent (with whining or getting mouthy) the stick hits. It was really good. Let’s hope it stays that way for the next month! Dottie was… well… Dottie. She did the call out of the blind, which I’ve been training on my own and she hasn’t done correctly previously. So that was good. But otherwise we need more control work because she is only heeling away from the helper on my command with collar corrections- which are not allowed come trial day. We still have some work ahead of us, but Pie is looking good and that is all that matters to me!

1 comment:

Jasper said...

How could Pie EVER fail with you in her corner!

Good luck to Charlie - I admire tracker-dogs SO much. Heroes all. x